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In 1899 foreign adventurers seeking gold in South Africa, petitioned Queen Victoria asking her to persuade the Transvaal government to hold free elections, giving all the gold miners the vote. The Boers rejected the Queen's proposals as the British government knew they would, giving them the opportunity to serve an ultimatum, 'agree or face war'. The Orange Free State sided with the Transvaal in what they saw as an attempted land grab by the British government. On the eleventh of October 1899 Great Britain declared war.