February 18, 2016

Today in History: Boer War's 'Bloody Sunday' signalled deadliness of modern firearms (1900)

John RobsonResident Historian

February 18 is the anniversary of bloody Sunday. 

Well, the one in the Boer War, the first day of the Battle of Paardeberg in 1900, when the British and Canadians took 1,100 casualties including 280 dead.

At the time it seemed a huge number, though it would rapidly be eclipsed by the “accomplishments” of the 20th century from Loos to the Somme and on.

But there were signs at the time of the new deadliness of modern firearms using smokeless powder, and of artillery, that could have tipped us off about what progress would soon bring.

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commented 2016-02-18 20:14:35 -0500
Not the UK’s finest hour – essentially some ambitious neuveau riche colonial diamond/gold moguls pitted the waning imperial houses of Orange and Saxe Gotha against each other in a petty territorial dispute – the end result being the ascension of a new transnational business aristocracy rising to political prominence in foreign affairs

What we got from this dust-up was the Rhodes-Milner round table – a deeply influential elite group who promoted Anglo-American financial imperialism – its incestuous tentacles linking central banking and government foreign policy haunts the free western democracies to this day.
commented 2016-02-18 18:47:17 -0500
The Boers fought on for more than year with dogged determination against the British Empire. Lord Kitchener brought in his scorched earth policy and introduced concentration camps where perhaps 40,000 Boer women and children perished. John can confirm but I understand Canadian troops guarded the prisoners.
Over 100 years later some descendants of the Boers wait for the return of General de la Rey to free them from the failed state they now live in.
commented 2016-02-18 13:13:39 -0500
Thank you John for another interesting article about a war which Canadian fought in. Let’s hope it inspires more Canadians to learn there history, Another good book to read is the one written by Sir Winston Churchill about the Boer War interesting reading.