Pretoria at War 1899-1900

Bridget Theron

Date Published :
March 2012
Publisher :
Protea Boekhuis
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781919825137
Pages : 269
In stock


The commemoration of the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 has brought renewed interest in the fortunes and strategies of the two warring parties and the various battles that were won and lost. But it has also aroused great curiosity about how the ordinary South African people of all races experienced the war. This book looks at how the war impacted upon a particular community - that of Pretoria, the capital of the Transvaal republic and the seat of the Boer government. When the war clouds gathered, how did Pretorians react? What were their emotions when war broke out and how did they cope with wartime conditions? The effect of the war on schools in the town, on commerce and industry, social activities and the provision of public amenities is described, as well as the way in which residents dealt with new challenges such as treatment of the wounded and the influx of prisoners of war. When the British troops under Lord Roberts began their inexorable march towards Pretoria, the people were thrown into panic. Would the town be defended, and if so what would become of them? As Roberts drew ever nearer, tension and dismay gave way to utter disbelief when President Kruger and his senior government officials left and the republic's funds were removed from the National Bank. There is also insight into why this general state of panic flared up into a period of crazy looting and disorder at the end of May 1900. Finally you will read of the occupation of Pretoria and how the ordinary people reacted when Roberts's weary troops plodded into Church Square in their thousands on the winter afternoon of 5 June 1900.This is a story - a true story - of how the people of Pretoria dealt with a crisis situation more than a hundred years ago. The Boer War has direct mirrors in the US war of independence. This book has a unique focus on one town and its citizens; and is relevant to all military historians throughout the world as the lessons can be extrapolated.


"In this study, Theron (history, University of South Africa) looks at the everyday lives of ordinary citizens in Pretoria, the capital of the South African Republic, during the Anglo-Boer War. The study explores the impact of the war on areas such as commerce and industry, education and religion, health and hospitals, social interaction and leisure activity, and maintenance of community services. A chapter on non-combatants in Pretoria during the war looks at the roles of various races and nationalities. The book's final chapter examines the reaction to the approach of Lord Roberts and the occupation of Pretoria. The book is illustrated with a wealth of b&w historical photos and illustrations. Newly available in the US."

- Reference and Research Book News, August 2012

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