Antiqua Print Gallery Eighth Xhosa War
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Eighth 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 8th Xhosa War, 1851-1853 Also known as Mlanjeni's War. Prophet Mlanjeni predicted that the amaXhosa would be unaffected by the colonists' bullets. The amaXhosa invaded the colony after an attempt to arrest the Ngqika chief Sandile. A Khoi-khoi farmer of the Kat River settlement, Hermanus Matroos, was then issued with rifles and ammunition by the Fort Beaufort armoury. Matroos was privy to the plans of the amaXhosa and defected to them just as the war started. Some of Matroos's subjects were coerced to join the rebellion, while others who were unarmed and open to amaXhosa attacks had little option than to follow him. Soon after Matroos and his supporters attacked the town of Fort Beaufort. The town was prepared and successfully defended itself, killing Matroos in the process. The rebellion however soon spread westwards as small land tenants of the missions and farm labourers, some armed with farmers' ammunition, looted stock and formed a rebel camp in the Blinkwater area. After Matroos's death Willem Uithaalder became commander of the Khoi-khoi rebels, and retreated to strongholds in the Amatolas. Insurgents led by Maqoma established themselves in the forested Water Kloof. From this base they managed to plunder surrounding farms and torch the homesteads. Maqoma's stronghold was situated on Mount Misery, a natural fortress on a narrow neck wedged between the Water Kloof and Harry's Kloof. The Water Kloof conflicts lasted two years. Maqoma also led an attack on Fort Fordyce and inflicted heavy losses on the forces of Sir Harry Smith. In 1852, HMS Birkenhead was wrecked at Gansbaai while bringing reinforcements to the war at the request of Sir Harry Smith. Of the 450 people who perished in the incident, most of these were soldiers of the 73rd Regiment of Foot. (Wikipedia)