Monday, August 13, 2012

Rinderpest and the Boer War

Rinderpest and the Boer War
Andre Willers
14 Aug 2012
“The Fifth Apocalypse Rider was an Ox-Rider.”
Rinderpest killed 90% to 96 % of all cattle and many game after 1896 AD in Southern Africa . An Eco-catastrophe . Famine and warfare resulted .
Discussion :
Cattle turned grass into human-edible protein , fats and vitamins . Oxen were primary sources of energy for ploughing and transportation .Without them , the ability of the ecology to support large numbers of humans was drastically reduced . Famine resulted . Food prices for those with access to markets , rocketed .
This impoverished the Boers , already living from sub-optimal portions of pastural ground (due to subdivision on death of the patriarch) . By 1899 , large percentages of boers were living off the Dole . They called it something else . Charity , grants , etc .
Blacks were equally affected , except subsistence farmers who ramped up production when a market suddenly appeared . But transport was severely affected by the same plague .
Still , starving people will find a way .
Now add a half-million miners to this mix (See Appendix I) . The goldminers outnumbered the locals at least 2-1 in the Witwatersrand . They all were essentially dependant on the cattle ecosystem . When the cattle died , the miners still could live barely on expensive imported food paid for by gold , but the locals had a choice of dying of starvation or taking the necessary resources by force .

This was the Boer War . Kruger knew he would lose , so did Smuts . But they reckoned it was the lesser of two evils . A short , sharp war and the British Empire would not let them starve .

The law of unintended consequences struck again . The Bitter-Enders and Kitchener .
The Famine still struck in the concentration camps for whites and blacks . This is the bit I don’t like . The concentration camp inmates still got more food than they would have gotten in a full-blown famine .
Removal of a third of the population (the men) to internment camps outside of South Africa lessened the stress on food supplies . A local camp still has to be supplied from local resources . I thought this was the original Milner-plan to get rid of local men . But Kitchener saw deeper .
He moved mouths , not food .
Legs will always find their own way .
This is why they judged it cheaper to ship POW’s to far-off places . The South-African ecology had collapsed due to the Rinderpest and could not support the same numbers of humans . Imported food was very expensive and most of the cost of the South-African Campaign was basically bully-beef . Not only the troops , but all the civilians in all camps . And they had to shoot the cattle and game , to prevent the spread of Rinderpest (still active) .

Kitchener never bothered to explain his thinking (typical Asperger) , but he saved most of the Boer and Black nations .
I can’t believe I am writing this . But the logic leaves me no option . He despised Churchill and Milner and made sure that their genocidal machinations never reached fruition .
The Lesson :
1.In ecodistress , remove the mouths .
3.Restore the mouths .

Then scream .
Andre .
Appendix I
Some numbers .
From the venerable “Atlas of world population history “ by Colin McEvedy and Richard Jones . This is the best source at present for this sort of information .
P260 of the 1978 edition .
At 1850 populations in SA were
100 000 Cape whites
8 000 Natal
30 000 Boer
1.85 Million Black
Between 1850 and 1900 , the number of miners and fortune seekers grew to 500 000 , of which 70% were British .
They all had to eat . From local supplies . Basically , cattle . The Rinderpest meant that there was not enough food for the locals , never mind 500 000 rapacious miners with money in their pockets . Food prices rocketed .
Professional Hunting Companies
Not the fancy ones . The bread-and-butter ones that tried to make up for the lack of cattle by hunting the few surviving game after the rinderpest .
By the start of the Boer War (1899) very little wild game was left .
This was an eco-disaster .

No comments: