Siege of Kimberley

Siege Of Kimberley

Military Conflict
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Siege of Kimberley

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The Siege of Kimberley took place during the Second Boer War at Kimberley, Cape Colony (present-day South Africa), when Boer forces from the Orange Free State and the Transvaal besieged the diamond mining town. The Boers moved quickly to try to capture the British enclave when war broke out between the British and the two Boer republics in October 1899. The town was ill-prepared, but the defenders organised an energetic and effective improvised defence that was able to prevent it from being taken.

Cecil Rhodes, who had made his fortune in the town, and who still owned most of its mining resources, moved into the town at the onset of the siege. His presence was controversial, as his involvement in the Jameson Raid made him one of the primary protagonists behind war breaking out. Rhodes did not get on with the military, with whom he was constantly at loggerheads, but he was nonetheless instrumental in organising the defence of the town. The Boers shelled the town with their superior artillery in an attempt to force the garrison to capitulate. Engineers of the De Beers company manufactured a one-off gun named Long Cecil, however the Boers soon countered with a much larger siege gun that terrified the residents, forcing many to take shelter in the Kimberley Mine.

The British military had to change its strategy for the war as public opinion demanded that the sieges of Kimberley, Ladysmith and Mafeking be relieved before the Boer capitals were assaulted. The first...
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