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On October 11, 1899, the Boer War began in South Africa, between the British Empire and two Boer republics, Transvaal and the Orange Free State.

It became Australia’s first war, with the individual colonies contributing troops (such as the NSW Mounted Lances, pictured) initially. After Australia celebrated Federation at the start of 1901, the troops fighting because Australian troops. In all, more than 16,000 Australian soldiers served in the war.

The war ended in victory for the British in May 1902, though it stained the Empire’s reputation both at the time and retrospectively. Initially, the duration of the war – waged largely against Boer guerillas – called into question Britain’s imperial strength. Later historians would point to the Empire’s use of concentration camps (in which many Boer civilians died) and scorched-earth policies in Boer territories.

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