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Ladysmith. Town in northern Natal, scene of a siege by Afrikaner forces during the second Anglo-Boer War. Ladysmith became the main British military supply base in Natal in 1897 and when the Boers advanced into the colony at the outbreak of war in 1899 the British commander in Natal, Sir George White, expected an easy victory. Instead, his army was heavily defeated and White found himself surrounded in Ladysmith, a strategically unsuitable site for a beleaguered force to occupy. Fortunately for White, the Boer commander, Joubert, did not exploit his success and the town was relieved at the end of February 1900.
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