Sub-Saharan Africa 1900: Invasion of the Boer Republics
The early Boer victories of 1899 prompted the British to send huge numbers of reinforcements to South Africa. By early 1900 the British were ready to strike back, evicting the Boers from Cape Colony and Natal, and invading and annexing the Orange Free State and South African Republic. Unable to match their enemy’s numbers, the Boers resorted to guerrilla warfare, dragging the war out for another two years.
3 Jan–18 May 1900 Reliefs of Ladysmith and Mafeking▲
In response to the Boer War setbacks of late 1899, the British sent two more divisions plus large numbers of colonial volunteers to South Africa; by January 1900 this force amounted to some 180,000 men with more requested. At the end of February 1900 the British relieved Ladysmith, with Mafeking finally being relieved in mid-May. With their homelands by now under attack, Boer remnants in Cape Colony and Natal retreated or surrendered over the next month.
9 Jan–28 May 1900 Conquest of Orange Free State▲
In January 1900 British forces invaded the Orange Free State from the west, with additional troops entering from the south the next month. In mid-March they occupied the capital Bloemfontein, unopposed by the severely outnumbered Boers. Despite the escape and continued resistance of President Martinus Steyn, the British annexed the republic as the Orange River Colony in May.
22 Apr 1900 Battle of Kousséri▲
In 1899 the Sudanese warlord Rabih az-Zubayr arrested (and later executed) the French representative Ferdinand de Béhagle and defeated a French expeditionary force under Lieutenant Bretonnet sent to free him. In response the French sent three armed columns—one proceeding north from Congo, one east from Niger and another south from Algeria—against Rabih in his empire around Lake Chad, linking French possessions in Western Africa in the process. Under the overall command of Major Amédée-François Lamy, the French force attacked and defeated Rabih near Kousséri, with both Lamy and Rabih dying in the battle.
24 May–25 Oct 1900 Conquest of Transvaal▲
Following the conquest of the Orange Free State, the British crossed the Vaal River into the South African Republic (Transvaal) in late May 1900. Quickly advancing up the railway line, they captured Johannesburg at the end of the month and Pretoria on 5 June. After a desperate hold out in the east of the country in June–September, President Paul Kruger fled to Portuguese East Africa, leaving the British to annex the Transvaal on 25 October.