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Two Boer Wars were fought between the British Empire and the two independent Boer republics, the Orange Free State and the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic), founded by settlers known as Voortrekkers who made the Great Trek from the Cape Colony.
The war most commonly referred to as the "Boer War" is the Second Boer War.
The First Boer War (1880â€“1881), also known as the "Transvaal War," was a relatively brief conflict in which Boer settlers successfully resisted a British attempt to annex the Transvaal, and re-established an independent republic.
The Second Boer War (1899â€“1902), by contrast, was a lengthy war - involving large numbers of troops from many British possessions - which ended with the conversion of the Boer republics into British colonies (with a promise of limited self-government). These colonies later formed part of the Union of South Africa. Unlike many colonial conflicts, the Boer War lasted three years and was very bloody. The British fought directly against the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. The bloodshed that was seen during the war was alarming and many of the British soldiers faced unfit conditions. Inhumane treatment of South Africans and the usage of a new system, the concentration camp, caused many in Britain to view imperialism as barbaric. The cost of war in money, destruction, and demoralization was gigantic, and many in Britain began to believe the Empire was too costly to maintain.