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Rural Struggles And The Politics Of A Colonial Command: The Southern Mounted Rifles Of The Transvaal Volunteers, 1905–1912

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Chapter Summary

The Transvaal Volunteers were established in 1902 just after the Anglo-Boer War ended and southern Africa entered a new era of undoubted British supremacy, to which Lord Milner, the British proconsul in Southern Africa, had aspired and for which the war had been fought. The administrative area of the Eastern Rifles fell almost squarely into the northern apex of this triangle; they, together with units of the Natal Militia, were expected to secure the railroad between Johannesburg and Durban. Wyndham and his regiment were immediately part of the struggle for control of the platteland-the Transvaal countryside. For many colonial men, military service was clearly something to be enjoyed-a rite of passage-and war was a source of glory, another justification of the special status of the officer-gentleman for whom command was both recreation and duty. The Bhambatha Rebellion highlighted several weaknesses in colonial defense planning.

Keywords: Anglo-Boer War; Bhambatha Rebellion; Eastern Rifles; military service; platteland; Southern Africa; Transvaal Volunteers; Wyndham



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