Gold had been mined since the early 1870s but was discovered on the Witwatersrand, in the Transvaal, in 1886. Thousands of white and black South Africans were employed on the mines by 1890.
South Africa became the single biggest gold producer in the world and this meant great growth for the independent Boer governments.
The Transvaal now also became more prominent in international finance because the importance of gold as an international monetary system. Britain was the center of industry and trade in the world at the time and needed a steady supply of gold to maintain this position.
There were various political leaders with opposing views in power in different parts of South Africa during the 1890s. Paul Kruger was president of the Transvaal or South African Republic (SAR) and Cecil John Rhodes became the premier of the Cape Colony in 1890.
Rhodes was from Britain and had made his fortune in South Africa by mining diamonds. He was also a supporter of the British imperial plan to unite South Africa under British rule. Kruger was a supporter of Boer independence and the two leaders were in direct conflict with each other. (South African History)
“The Boers were Dutch farmers of the Orange Free State in southern Africa. Incensed over British farmers moving into their land, the Boers declared war against Britain. … The British Empire, not to be trifled with, rushed half a million troops into the area. The Boers, never more than a few thousand in number, fought back using guerilla tactics.” (Star Bulletin, May 26, 1981)
“South African War (aka the Anglo-Boer War, or simply the Boer War) (October 11, 1899 – May 31, 1902) remains the most terrible and destructive modern armed conflict in South Africa’s history.”
“It was an event that in many ways shaped the history of 20th Century South Africa. The end of the war marked the end of the long process of British conquest of South African societies, both Black and White”. (Gilliomee and Mbenga )
Great Britain battled (and defeated) two Boer states in South Africa: the South African Republic (Republic of Transvaal) and the Orange Free State. Britain was aided by its Cape Colony, Colony of Natal and some native African allies.
Prince Kūhiō was with the British during the war in South Africa. … but, first, some background …
Prince Kūhiō studied under the late Alatau Atkinson in Honolulu, going from the Royal School to Punahou College and later attending St. Matthew’s College at San Mateo, Calif. He then went to England, studying at the Royal Agricultural College and taking business courses. (Orr; Nellist)
“As a young man Kalākaua wanted him to take up a military career and he was offered commissions in the British army, but his wishes ran to another way, he desired to study law and he achieved his desire. … His tastes were not militaristic, his trend was
toward law making and governing.” (Maui News, January 10, 1922)
In 1895, following the overthrow of Queen Lili‘uokalani, Kūhiō took part in a counterrevolution led by Robert Wilcox against the Republic of Hawai‘i. (DHHL)
The prince was charged with misprision of treason and served his sentence of one year in prison. During his imprisonment, a Kauai chiefess, Elizabeth Kahanu Ka‘auwai, visited him each day.
After his release, the two married on October 8, 1896. Kūhiō and Kahanu left Hawai‘i on a self-imposed exile and traveled extensively through Europe. (DHHL)
“They remained away two years, during which time they visited many interesting places” (Hawaiian Star, May 28, 1904), “vowing never to return to a Hawai‘i that appeared inhospitable to Hawaiians.” (Star Bulletin, March 26, 1996)
“They went to South Africa (where the) Prince was given an opportunity of enjoying some big game hunting. (Hawaiian Star, May 28, 1904)
“(T)he prince was anxious to see some of the fighting. But the authorities always managed to keep him away from the scene of the sklirmish although they saw bullets flying from a distance.” (Star Bulletin, February 20, 1932)
“(D)uring the Boer war … Prince Kūhiō had some exciting experiences with the British in their engagements with the Boer forces. The prince was on a train that was attacked by the Boers. He met the late Cecil Rhodes and was entertained by Sir J. Somers Vine.” (Hawaiian Star, May 28, 1904)
Kūhiō returned to the Islands and got into politics. In 1900, the Kanaka Maoli (aboriginal Hawaiians) had formed their own party, called the Home Rule Party, through merging two organizations, Hui Aloha ‘Āina and Hui Kālai‘āina, who had worked together to support Queen Lili‘uokalani and oppose annexation. (Silva)
That year, the Home Rulers elected Robert Wilcox as Hawaiʻi’s first delegate to the US Congress. (However, on July 10, 1902, Prince Kūhiō split from the Home Rule Party, joined the Republican Party and won the Congressional seat in the election on November 4, 1902.) (After a decade of election losses, the Home Rule Party was disbanded after the elections of 1912.)
Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole Piʻikoi died on January 7, 1922 of heart disease. He was given the last state funeral for an ali‘i; he is buried at Mauna ‘Ala, the Royal Mausoleum.