Antiqua Print Gallery 9th Xhosa War
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9th Xhosa War

The Xhosa Wars, also known as the Kaffir Wars or Cape Frontier Wars, were a series of nine wars between the amaXhosa people and European settlers from 1779 to 1879 in what is now the Eastern Cape in South Africa. The wars were responsible for the amaXhosa people's loss of most of their land, and the incorporation of its people.

The first wars, causes and developments

The competition between the Boers and the amaXhosa over good grazing land was intense, and skirmishes became wars. Though the Boers had guns and therefore an advantage, they could not fully capitalize on their superior firepower. Chasing the highly mobile Xhosa meant the Boers had to leave their own homes and families undefended, so the local militia strategy was severely limited. Professional troops however were not burdened by such considerations. So, when the British entered the Cape in 1806, British troops under Harry Smith were sent to help the Boer settlers. The balance of power changed and in 1811 British and Boer operations began to clear the land of the amaXhosa people. About four thousand British colonists were stationed on the Great Fish River.
The Xhosa had been expelled from the district between the Great Fish River and the Sundays river known as the Zuurveld, which became a sort of neutral ground. For some time previous to 1811 the amaXhosa, however, had taken control of the neutral ground and committed depredations of the colonists. In order to expel them from the Zuurveld, Colonel John Graham took the field with a mixed force in 1811 for a campaign in which the Governor of the Cape Colony, Lt-General John Cradock, said no more blood had been shed "than was necessary to impress on the minds of these savages a proper degree of terror and respect". The the amaXhosa were driven beyond the Great Fish River. On the site of Colonel Graham's headquarters arose the town which bears his name.
A difficulty between the Cape Colony government and the amaXhosa arose in 1817, the immediate cause of which was an attempt by the colonial authorities to enforce the restitution of some stolen cattle. On 22 April 1817, led by a prophet-chief named Makana, they attacked Graham’s Town, then held by a handful of white troops. Help arrived in time and the Xhosa were beaten back. It was then agreed that the land between the Fish and the Keiskamma rivers should be neutral territory.
After first war (1779-1781), the border was established between the Fish and Sundays Rivers. After the second war (1789-1793), the boundary was moved west to Sundays River. The third war (1799-1803) established the Sundays River boundary. The fourth war (1811-1812) was the first war that featured professional British soldiers who could pursue the enemy with single-minded intensity, and in the fourth Xhosa War they drove the Xhosa back to the east of the Fish River.

The 9th Xhosa War, 1877-1879

This 9th War started after the harassing of the Mfengu by Kreli's Gcalekas and when summoned to meet Frere at King William's Town, the Gcaleka chief refused.
The last war was a feeble attempt by the amaXhosa returning from diamond fields to regain control of their land. All amaXhosa territory then became part of the Cape Colony.

(Source Wikipedia)