Kaffir Wars


Kaffir Wars
(1781–1879)
   Also referred to as the Xhosa Wars, the Kaffir Wars were a series of conflicts, the precise number of which is uncertain, fought along the eastern border of the Cape Colony between settlers of Dutch and British origin and local African peoples, mostly Xhoxa and Basuto. The term kaffir was initially used by Arab slave traders to refer to non-Muslims, but during the nineteenth century it was increasingly applied by the white population to all Bantu-speaking peoples of southeast Africa. By the end of the century the word kaffir was a common racist epithet hurled against black Africans. The wars were fired over competition for grazing land and involved the wanton slaughter of livestock and people. In the 1830s, Boer resentment over how British justice dealt with the conflicts was one of the factors leading to the Great Trek.
   See also <>; <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Smithers, A. J. The Kaffir Wars, 1779–1877. London: Leo Cooper, 1973.
   CARL CAVANAGH HODGE

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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