Antiqua Print Gallery Seventh Kaffir War
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Seventh Kaffir War

Xhosa Wars

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 7th Xhosa War, 1846-1847

Known as the "War of the Axe". Tension continued to simmer between farmers and marauders. A Khoikhoi escort, manacled to an amaXhosa thief, was murdered while transporting the man to Grahamstown to be tried for stealing an axe. A party of amaXhosa attacked and killed the escort. The surrender of the murderer was refused and war was declared in March, 1846. The Ngqikas were the chief tribe engaged in the war, assisted by the Tambukies. A British column sent to attack the Ngqika chief, Sandili, was defeated in the Amatola Mountains (the attacking amaXhosa were able to capture the undefended center of the three mile long wagon train, carrying away, among other important supplies, the British officer's supplies of wine). On 28th March a force of 8000 amaXhosa attacked the British Garrison at Fort Peddie, the assault was unsuccessful, but did result in the loss of the British cattle (which were stampeded by the noise of the British rockets and artillery).

The amaXhosa were defeated on June 7, 1846 by General Somerset on the Gwangu, a few miles from Fort Peddie. However, the war continued until Sandili was captured (he was arrested and sent to Grahamstown after entering a British camp to seek terms). The other chiefs gradually followed suit, and by the beginning of 1848 the amaXhosa had been completely subdued after twenty-one months of fighting. In 1847 the Keiskamma to upper Kei region was once again annexed as the British Kaffraria Colony with King William's Town as capital.


(Source Wikipedia)