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From Mercenaries To Military Settlers: The British German Legion, 1854–1861

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Chapter Summary

In 1854 the British government began recruiting mercenaries in Europe to fight in the Crimean War. The men of the British German Legion (BGL) were encouraged to volunteer, and in 1856 the majority did so. Mercenaries, or soldiers of fortune, who serve their paymaster for tangible reward rather than from motives of loyalty or idealism, seem to have been active for as long as war has been waged. Moreover, by the Declaration of Bamberg on 23 May 1854 the Bund had taken a neutral position in the Crimean War. Following the War of the Axe of 1846-1847 (the Seventh Frontier War), the Governor of the Cape, Sir Harry Smith (1847-52), annexed the territory between the Keiskamma and Kei rivers to the Crown in 1848 as British Kaffraria.

Keywords: Axe; Bamberg; British German Legion (BGL); Crimean War; Europe; Kaffraria; mercenaries



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