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Second Boer War

The Second Boer War was fought between the British Empire and two Boer states, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State, over the Empire's influence in South Africa. It is known variously as the Boer War, Anglo-Boer War, or South African War. Initial Boer attacks were successful, although British reinforcements reversed these, the war continued for years with Boer guerrilla warfare, until harsh British counter-measures brought the Boers to terms; the war under-prepared. The Boers were well armed and struck first, besieging Ladysmith and Mafeking in early 1900, winning important battles at Colenso and Stormberg. Staggered, the British fought back. General Redvers Buller was replaced by Lord Kitchener, they relieved the three besieged cities, invaded the two Boer republics in late 1900. The onward marches of the British Army, well over 400,000 men, were so overwhelming that the Boers did not fight staged battles in defence of their homeland; the British army seized control of all of the Orange Free State and Transvaal, as the civilian leadership went into hiding or exile.

In conventional terms, the war was over. The British annexed the two countries in 1900. Back home, Britain's Conservative government wanted to capitalize on this success and use it to maneuver an early general election, dubbed a "khaki election", to give the government another six years of power in London. British military efforts were aided by Cape Colony, the Colony of Natal and some native African allies, further supported by volunteers from the British Empire, including southern Africa, the Australian colonies, Canada and New Zealand. All other nations were neutral, but international opinion was hostile to the British. Inside the British Empire there was significant opposition to the Second Boer War; the Boers refused to surrender. They reverted to guerrilla warfare under new generals Louis Botha, Jan Smuts, Christiaan de Wet and Koos de la Rey. Two years of surprise attacks and quick escapes followed; as guerrillas without uniforms, the Boer fighters blended into the farmlands, which provided hiding places and horses.

The British response to guerrilla warfare was to set up complex nets of blockhouses and barbed wire fences, partitioning off the entire conquered territory. In addition, civilian farms and livestock were destroyed as part of a scorched earth policy. Survivors were forced into concentration camps. Large proportions of these civilians died of hunger and disease the children. British mounted infantry units systematically tracked down the mobile Boer guerrilla units; the battles at this stage were small operations. Few died during combat, though many of disease; the war ended when the Boer leadership surrendered and accepted British terms with the Treaty of Vereeniging in May 1902. Both former republics were incorporated into the Union of South Africa in 1910, as part of the British Empire; the conflict is referred to as the Boer War, since the First Boer War was a much smaller conflict. "Boer" is the common term for Afrikaans-speaking white South Africans descended from the Dutch East India Company's original settlers at the Cape of Good Hope.

It is known as the Anglo-Boer War among some South Africans. In Afrikaans it may be called the Anglo-Boereoorlog, Tweede Boereoorlog, Tweede Vryheidsoorlog or Engelse oorlog. In South Africa it is called the South African War. In fact, according to a 2011 BBC report, "most scholars prefer to call the war of 1899–1902 the South African War, thereby acknowledging that all South Africans and black, were affected by the war and that many were participants"; the origins of the war were complex and stemmed from more than a century of conflict between the Boers and Britain. Of particular immediate importance, was the question as to who would control and benefit most from the lucrative Witwatersrand gold mines; the first European settlement in South Africa was founded at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652, thereafter administered as part of the Dutch Cape Colony. The Cape was governed by the Dutch East India Company until its bankruptcy in the late 1700s, thereafter directly by the Netherlands; the British occupied the Cape three times during the Napoleonic Wars as a result of political turmoil in the Netherlands, the occupation became permanent after British forces defeated the Dutch at the Battle of Blaauwberg in 1806.

At the time, the colony was home to about 26,000 colonists settled under Dutch rule. A relative majority still represented old Dutch families brought to the Cape during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Cleavages were likelier to occur along socio-economic rather than ethnic lines and broadly speaking the colonists included a number of distinct subgroups, including the Boers; the Boers were itinerant farmers who lived on the colony's frontiers, seeking better pastures for their livestock. Many Boers who were dissatisfied with aspects of British administration, in particular with Britain's abolition of slavery on 1 December 1834, elected to migrate away from British rule in what became known as the Great Trek. Around 15,000 trekking Boers followed the eastern coast towards Natal. After Britain annexed Natal in 1843, they journeyed further northwards into South Africa's vast eastern interior. There they est

Leasburg Diversion Dam

The Leasburg Diversion Dam is a structure completed in 1907 on the Rio Grande in New Mexico, United States. It diverts water from the Rio Grande into the 13.7 miles long Leasburg Canal, which carries irrigation water into the upper Mesilla Valley, north of Las Cruces, New Mexico. The town of Leasburg, now Radium Springs, grew up around Fort Selden, 18 miles north of Las Cruces. A diversion dam was built for irrigation purposes built of poles and interwoven with twigs and stones for ballast; the Rio Grande Project was authorized on 2 December 1905. The U. S. Reclamation Service designed a 600 feet long concrete weir to replace the old dam. Work began in November 1906. Leasburg Diversion Dam was the first dam completed on the Rio Grande Project by the United States Bureau of Reclamation. By 1908, the Rio Grande was being diverted into the Leasburg Canal to irrigate 31,600 acres of land in the upper Mesilla Valley. Nine miles south of the dam, the 502 feet long, steel truss Picacho Flume carried canal water over the Rio Grande.

In 1919 the crest of Leasburg Dam was raised 1.25 feet. Citations Sources

Shanghai People's Commune

The Shanghai People's Commune was established in January 1967 during the January Storm known as the January Revolution, of China's Cultural Revolution. The Commune was modelled on the Paris Commune, it lasted less than a month. As the Cultural Revolution gained momentum in 1966, it became evident that Chairman Mao Zedong and his Maoist followers in Beijing had underestimated the ability of local party organizations to resist the attacks from Red Guards. By the end of 1966 many regional party groupings had survived by paying lip service to Maoist teachings while countering the attacks of local Maoists. To break the stalemate which had begun to form, Maoist leaders called for the "seizure of power by proletarian revolutionaries", a concept mentioned in the Sixteen Articles. Shanghai was chosen as the first place. Shanghai's experience of the Cultural Revolution had begun in the summer of 1966 with the formation of Red Guard groups proclaiming their loyalty to Chairman Mao; the movement became factionalized, but rapidly developed radical tendencies, with attacks on the authority of the city's mayor and physical attacks on government buildings.

By the autumn of the same year, the spirit of rebellion had spread from the city's schools to the factories, there soon followed the creation of many different worker-based groups. In November, several of these groups proceeded to form an alliance led by Wang Hongwen. By this point, the Cultural Revolution in Shanghai was proceeding at a rapid pace. On 8 November, the Worker's Headquarters presented a list of demands to the Shanghai Municipal Party Committee demanding the replacement of the old "bureaucracy" with new organs that had widespread support; these demands were refused, but two days a large number of workers seized a train to Beijing, with the intention of presenting their demands to Mao. The train was intercepted at Anting. Nearly half of the workers remained on board, refusing to return to Shanghai, turning the situation into a three-day siege; the response from the Maoist leaders in Beijing was one of caution. Their first response was to send a telegram stating the seriousness of disobeying Party instructions, but before the order could be implemented a second message from the leadership was conveyed by Zhang Chunqiao to Anting, he proceeded to grant the Worker's Headquarters legal status and cede to them all of their demands.

The event signaled the exhaustion of the established apparatus' last political capital. It was in this situation that the attempt to seize power would be conducted in early January 1967. On 5 January 1967, a dozen groups allied with the Worker's Headquarters grouping published a "Message to all the People of Shanghai" in the city's main newspaper, calling for unity in the workers' movement; the next day over one million people gathered in the city's main square to see a televised mass meeting, in which the city's officials were denounced and removed from their positions. This marked the fall of the old established apparatus; the now leaderless old apparatus was taken over by Zhang Chunqiao who came again to Shanghai with his colleague Yao Wenyuan to restore order. The pair proceeded to strike a deal with Wang Hongwen to guarantee the support of the Worker's Headquarters and, with the support of the People's Liberation Army, order had been restored to Shanghai by the end of January. However, the unity that had existed early in January was not to last.

While the Scarlet Guards proceeded to pledge their support to the new leadership, the more radical groups involved in the January revolution moved into a position of opposition, fearing that the new apparatus was of little difference to the old bureaucracy. By the end of January and the beginning of February, these groups had taken up arms again, the factional fighting that had dominated the previous year was resumed. To secure the support of all the major groups, Zhang promised the introduction of a model based on the Paris Commune, a measure that gained popular approval. On 5 February 1967, the Shanghai Commune was formally proclaimed with Zhang Chunqiao as the head of the new organisation, but the movement was to be short-lived and marred with difficulty. Although the Shanghai Commune was based on Paris Commune model with a "self government of producers", the Shanghai equivalent varied in several meaningful ways. Zhang Chunqiao and Yao Wenyuan derived their authority from Peking and Mao Zedong rather than the proletariat of Shanghai, leading to the questioning of the legitimacy of their leadership.

Zhang's political opponents in Shanghai were soon excluded from the leadership of the Commune, driving several groups to establish a rival'New Shanghai People's Commune' immediately after the first one's formation. Meanwhile, in Peking, the concept of'revolutionary committees' had attracted Mao as the best organ of local government to replace the old apparatus with; as a result, in an audience with Zhang Chunqiao and Yao Wenyuan in mid-February, Mao suggested the transformation of the Shanghai Commune into a revolutionary committee. On 24 February, in a televised speech to the people of Shanghai, Zhang announced the now non-existence of the S