On this day in 1899, the Transvaal mobilised her forces

It was on this day in 1899 that the Transvaal mobilised her forces. Calling out the Commandos was an enormous step for the republic, given that virtually every burgher was obliged to turn out for Commando service. By mobilising, Kruger made it absolutely clear that he was hell-bent on war. He seized control of the nation’s railways two days later.

The Orange Free State was nagged, bullied, cajoled and bribed into following suit on the 3rd of October – their government only agreeing to join Kruger’s War by the narrowest of margins.

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, there are still various political extremists and pseudo-historians who like to pretend that the Boer republics were the innocent parties in the Boer War. They cling to their preferred fiction that the Boers ‘had no choice’ but to invade British territory, as Britain was about to invade them. As with most of the utterances these people come up with, this special pleading simply is not supported by the facts: Britain only mobilised her reserves on the 7th of October – almost 2 weeks after the Transvaal.

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