• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How far was the Boer War, 1899-1902, a turning point in the history of the British Empire

Extracts from this document...


How far was the Boer War, 1899-1902, a turning point in the history of the British Empire? (20) The Boer War symbolizes the climax of imperial tensions and excitement of the late 19th century, and can be viewed as a turning point in the history of the Empire, precipitating widespread changes. The first of these is a change in the attitudes towards the ideology of empire; the second is a change in terms of future administration of the empire; and the third is a change in the role of Britain as a dominant world power. The combination of these changes caused the beginnings of a series of transformations concerning the British Empire. The first significant turning point was in terms of attitudes to empire. At the end of the 19th century Britain was experiencing enormous prosperity, characterised by imperial expansion and dominance. Owing to her industrialisation and resulting wealth, Britain became a strong and influential world power, monopolising trade in Africa, India and Asia. Through her 'Open Door' policy in China, Britain controlled 70% of world trade, reaping enormous profits. Moreover, she controlled extremely profitable gold and diamond mining regions in Africa, and capitalised on trade in India which was a source of cheap materials and labour, as well as a huge and profitable market for British goods. Therefore, Britain's imperial position was strong and dominant, causing the attitudes towards empire to be positive, as it was seen as a source of international prestige. ...read more.


By 1907 the term 'dominion' came to be used to describe all the self-governing areas of the Empire, and an Imperial Conference based on the principle 'one government, one vote', was set up to decide future constitutional disputes within the Empire. Thus, the Boer War caused Britain's control over her colonies to be curtailed, culminating in a situation where the 'dominions' could outvote Britain on issues pertinent to their own position. Thus, the Boer War brought independence and decolonisation a step closer. Furthermore, the Boer War was a turning point in the Empire as it severely decreased British dominance in the African region, owing to the fact that in 1906 the Liberal government restored self-government and free election to the defeated states. Moreover, this can be seen as not only a turning point in empire history but also a turning point in African history as it precipitated the victory of the Afrikaaner Het Volk Party which instigated racial segregation and sewed the seeds for disputes over inequality which followed in later decades. Moreover, by far the most far-reaching effect of the Boer War was the way in which it affected Britain as a world power, causing changes to her foreign and defence policies, as well as aggravating her relations with Germany. The war highlighted her weaknesses, causing her hold on colonies to be weakened and precipitating the emergence of a threat from other powers, notably Germany. ...read more.


The war can be viewed as a catalyst for a series of progressive changes which eventually culminated in the breakdown of the Empire and decolonisation. However, the war was only an ingredient in this, and by no means the sole or primary cause. Moreover, in some respects, the Boer War strengthened and expanded the Empire through increasing its importance in matters of trade and investment, highlighted by an increase of exports and doubling of investments to the Empire. Nevertheless, economic benefits are not fully indicative of the effects of the war. While trade and investment may have increased, there was widespread disillusionment in both political and social circles, and passionate imperialism was replaced by a loss of confidence and interest in the Empire. The war made the empire a source of criticism, rather than pride and prestige. Moreover, the Boer War precipitated a turn-around in attitudes concerning foreign policy and diplomatic relations, resulting in an increased number of military alliances and a re-organisation of the army and navy. In addition, the war set off a series of changes concerning the status of self-governing colonies, eventually resulting in the weakening of British control over her colonies, which can be seen as a precursor for decolonisation. Thus, while it is clear that the Boer War could not have by itself precipitated decolonisation, it triggered a series of events which changed attitudes towards, and administration of, empire. In this respect, it can be seen as a significant turning point in the history of the British Empire. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

5 star(s)

This is a very strong response that places the Boer War in its political, economic and military context. There is a great deal of accurate evidence used in supporting points. Perhaps the counterarguments could have been considered more strongly.

5 Stars.

Marked by teacher Natalya Luck 24/10/2014

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. In What Ways Did World War One Impact American Society?

    They used and ridiculed Wilson's hypocritical view of fighting for democracy but still denying the vote to half its citizens as a key argument. They also attempted to justify themselves by saying that 'inferior' races such as African American men had been given the right to vote.

  2. Creative Writing - War.

    Two years my senior, my brother Michael was not seen by my father to be 'that' Atherton. He complained he was too much like my mother, who was German born. When the bombing raids began, the local community disowned my family because of this.

  1. How far was the USSR responsible for the outbreak of the Cold War?

    This again proved to Truman that dictators should not be appeased again, and that they can be contained if the USA puts its foot down. While it may be said that the USA was to be blamed for creating conflicts with the USSR by abandoning isolationism and adopting the Truman

  2. The factors that led to the downfall of Apartheid in South Africa

    began, the riots spread all over the country and soon there was violence erupting everywhere.

  1. Why did Britain and France pursue a policy of appeasement? Was it successful?

    However if Britain and France had not pursued a policy of appeasement and had declared war on Germany when she invaded Czechoslovakia then they would have had an ally in the Czechs, who had a strong army and could have made a significant contribution against Germany.

  2. Introduction to American drama.

    The Prohibition of Alcohol Act (1919) had banned the sale of alcohol, which only resulted in the growth of illegal bars known as 'speakeasies' and the domination of organised crime over illegal drinking. Then, in 1929, the bubble of prosperity burst and the Wall Street Crash brought economic chaos to America and the world.

  1. Why did the Central Powers lose the First World War?

    because if the war was won by the central powers, the USA wont receive back the loans they gave to Britain and France before and at the time of the war. 1 Another tactical failure was the German U-boat Campaign, it was designed as a counter-blockade to the blockade Great Britain has on Germany.

  2. Who was responsible for the start of the Cold war?

    Alperovitz argues that the U.S.'s main motive was to intimidate Stalin and to use it's new-found power as a "Diplomatic lever to wring concessions from the Soviet Union" Knowing what we know now i.e. that Stalin never really planned the expansion of Communism any further than the borders of Poland, this justifies the conclusion that the U.S.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work