Jameson Raid

   Occurring in December 1895, the Jameson Raid was an armed incursion into the territory of the South African Republic, also known as the Transvaal, by a battalion-size force of British South Africa Company Police under the command of Dr. Leander Starr Jameson, a close associate of Cecil Rhodes. Jameson and others in South African imperialist circles imagined that the large number of discontented British subjects, most of whom were attached to the gold mining industry, living in the Afrikaner-ruled Transvaal would rise in rebellion against the government of Paul Kruger, if offered support from an outside force.
   No rising occurred, however, and Jameson’s force ignominiously surrendered to Transvaal forces. The raid was important from four points of view, in roughly declining order of importance: it hardened Afrikaner attitudes to the British in the run-up to the South African War of 1899; it provoked the Kaiser’s congratulatory telegram to Kruger of January 1896, thereby increasing Anglo-German antagonism; it called into question the close links between Cecil Rhodes, chairman of the British South Africa Company and at that point also prime minister of the Cape Colony, and Tory ministers, among them Joseph Chamberlain, in London, leading to the resignation of Rhodes; finally, the absence of the company’s police from Rhodesia helped to provoke rebellions on the part of the African tribes in that colony, thereby leading to the Second Matabele War of 1896. Without the ill-advised and impetuous Jameson Raid, undertaken on the initiative of Jameson and with the connivance although without the immediate permission of Rhodes and Chamberlain, the South African War of 1899 might well have been avoided.
   See also <>; <>; <>.
    Danziger, Christopher. The Jameson Raid. Cape Town: Macdonald South Africa, 1978;
    Longford, Elizabeth. Jameson ’ s Raid. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1960;
    Rotberg, Robert I. The Founder: Cecil Rhodes and the Pursuit of Power. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

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

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