What were the two Boer wars about?Watch
The Transvaal was a poor country with an agrarian based economy. After financing the building of a railway to connect them to Portuguese Mozambique they were essentially bankrupt. Britain offered to bail them out in return for concessions. The Transvaal thought that these concessions robbed them of their right to self governance and sovereignty and as a result pushed the British out. After a series of battles the British called it quits and the Transvaal became a free independent state again. That is essentially the First Anglo-Boer War.
In between this time a lot of gold was found within the Transvaal. A lot of poor English speaking whites moved to the region to find their fortune, called uitlanders by the Boers. The Transvaal didn't afford them political rights as they weren't citizens and they threatened to overtake the Boers in influence which annoyed the British. Tensions between uitlanders and the Boers grew steadily. Cecil Rhodes founder of De Beers diamond company and the British South Africa Company as well as being Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, fancied himself a piece of the gold within the Transvaal so took advantage of these tensions. He orchestrated the Jameson Raid, in which British mercenaries invaded the Transvaal in the hopes of causing an uprising amongst the uitlanders. The raid failed and it was quickly stopped. This made the Transvaal obviously aware of British intentions in the region.
The British continued harassing the Transvaal to give political rights to uitlanders, who were starting to outnumber the Boer population, essentially putting the Transvaal under British control. They refused to do so, and called on the British to remove their troops from the borders. Britain refused to do so, so war was declared. The Orange Free State was obliged to join the Transvaal out of solidarity. The Boers took the advantage, quickly surrounding Mafeking, Ladysmith and Kimberly with the intentions of driving the British back to the sea. However they took too long in the sieges and the British were able to break them and push the Boers back. Reinforcements arrived at Cape Town, and soon the British marched and took Bloemfontein, Johannesburg and Pretoria without much of a fight. The Boers changed their tactics to institute a guerilla campaign which was initially very successful. The British were increasingly desperate, with the war becoming an international embarrassment and a huge issue in domestic politics, so Lord Kitchener adopted Scorched Earth tactics, burning down Boer farms and placing their women, children and servants in concentration camps. Due to inadequate conditions 28k innocent women and children died in the squalid conditions. This included 50% of Boer children at the time. Also a lot of blacks died in the camps, which has sadly been left out of most history books The guerilla campaign continued, however without their farms to supply them, and with a British troop surge and series of block houses to restrict their movement it became increasingly difficult for them to successfully operate. Numbers fizzled out, and so did the will to fight, and finally a peace treaty was signed in 1902 at Vereeniging. The Boers had to swear allegiance to the crown, but in return were offered self governance and reparations. And that is essentially the Second Anglo-Boer War.
And thanks to this war their is still massive tension between Afrikaners and English speaking South Africans till this. It also helped fuel the rise of Afrikaner Nationalism which would manifest itself in Apartheid.