Croats in the Anglo-Boer War, South Africa 1899-1902 Zvonimir Navala

Croats in the Anglo-Boer War, South Africa 1899-1902

Author: Zvonimir Navala
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Croats and the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 in South Africa. Not in your wildest imagination would you have thought there is link between these two totally different worlds. And yet, Zvonimir Navala has shown that these two worlds indeed got together—with an excellent text and understanding that makes this a fascinating must read. —Fransjohan Pretorius, Professor Emeritus, University of Pretoria, Republic of South Africa In the fifty years of the existence of the Boer Republics of the Free State and the Transvaal (second half of the 19th century), founded by the Boers–white settlers–a number of historical events happened, among which the discoveries of diamonds and gold stand out prominently. The discovery of diamonds in 1867 on the Free State border increased world diamond production beyond imagination. The discovery of gold in 1886 in the area of present-day Johannesburg elevated Transvaal to the leading position in the world’s gold production, surpassing the United States. Gold was the main reason for the war between the Boer Republics and its powerful “neighbor” on the African continent – the British Empire. Imperial greed vs. the spirit of freedom; 450,000 British soldiers against 50,000 Boers. It was the biggest British Imperial war before the Great War. The first wave of emigration from Croatia began in 1880 and lasted until the beginning of the Anglo-Boer War in 1899. Croats were miners on the diamond and gold fields, respected farmers, builders, and owners of various services. The war changed everything. The Croatian community in the Boer Republics was devastated materially and numerically. Of about a thousand-strong Croat Colony dozens of men took part in the Anglo-Boer War, the vast majority on the Boer side. More than 130 Croats were deported by the British or themselves chose to leave the country. This book shares my findings from years of research on this fascinating history of Croats in South Africa. Zvonimir Navala was born in Croatia in 1946 where he completed his schooling and earned his postgraduate degree. In the early 1990s, he emigrated with his family to South Africa. The dynamic and remarkable history of the south of the African continent and the fate of the Croatian community at the turn of the nineteenth century motivated him to write this book about the participation of the Croats in the Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1902. Zvonimir is currently living in California, USA, and working on his next project, Americans and the Anglo-Boer War, South Africa 1899-1902.