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Second Frontier War


This led to considerable bitterness among the eastern frontiersmen, particularly since war among the Xhosas in 1790 increased Xhosa penetration into the Zuurveld and friction mounted. In 1793 a large-scale war was precipitated when some frontiersmen under Barend Lindeque, including the lawless Coenraad de Buys who had previously been involved in outrages against the Xhosa decided to join Ndlambe, the regent of the Western Xhosas in his war against the Gqunukwebe clans who had penetrated into the Zuurveld.

But panic and desertion of farms followed Ndlambe's invasion and after he left the Colony his enemies remained in the Zuurveld. Farmers developed the technique of a laager for defence at Zuurveld. In spite of the fact that two Government commandos under the landdrosts of Graaff-Reinet and Swellendam penetrated into Xhosa territory as far as the Buffalo River and captured many cattle, they were unable to clear the Zuurveld, peace was made in 1793. Frontier discontent over Government policy precipitated revolts in Graaff-Reinet and Swellendam in 1795.

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Although the northern part of the Zuurveld was re-occupied by Boer farmers by 1798, many Xhosa clans remained in the southern Zuurveld area, some even penetrating into Swellendam, partly as a result of a civil war between the followers of Ndlambe, the acting regent of the Western Xhosas and his nephew Gaika, the legitimate heir. The Government found it impossible to persuade the Xhosa clans in the Colony to go back across the Fish River. Stock theft and employment of Xhosa servants increased tensions and in January 1799 a second rebellion occurred in Graaff-Reinet. This precipitated the Third Frontier War (1799-1803).