X13095 | South African War Monument, Riverview Memorial Park, Douglas Avenue, Saint John, New Brunswick

South African War Monument, Riverview Memorial Park, Douglas Avenue, Saint John, New Brunswick
1904, 20th century
13.9 x 8.8 cm
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

The discovery of gold in the Transvaal in South Africa generated a flood of British interest, aggravating existing tensions between the British and the Boers (Dutch settlers in South Africa). Britain dispatched armed forces to protect its mining interests in the area. When the British refused to withdraw from the Transvaal in response to a Boer ultimatum, war was declared in 1899. The well-equipped Boer forces won several early victories but could not sustain their successes. The tide of the war turned in favour of the British after the arrival of reinforcements. However, because of the Boers' guerilla tactics, the British were unable to claim a decisive victory until 1902.

Canadians paid close attention to the unfolding drama in South Africa. Much of English Canada wanted to send troops in support of Great Britain, whereas many in French-speaking Canada felt the country should not support imperialist aggression. Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier (1841-1919) compromised by agreeing to send only those soldiers who volunteered.

The monument shown in this postcard was unveiled during the de Monts and Champlain commemoration in June 1904, and is dedicated to "the memory of those soldiers who lost their lives in South Africa."

  • What

    The February 1900 British victory over Boer General Piet Cronje (c1835-1911) at Paardeberg was considered the Canadian soldiers' greatest contribution to the war in South Africa.

  • Where

    The New Brunswick South African War Monument is located in Riverview Memorial Park on Douglas Avenue, Saint John.

  • When

    The Boers declared war against Great Britain in October of 1899. In 1902, after much bloody fighting, the British were declared the victors and the fighting ceased.

  • Who

    A Boer was a Dutch colonist who settled in South Africa in the latter half of the 19th century.