22 Απριλίου 2013

John Costas: A Greek warrior by the Boer side at the Anglo-Boer War.

At the notorious "Boer War" (1899-1902), a man from the Greek area of Epirus, took part voluntarily, by the side of Boers. His name was John Costas (Greek name: Giannis Constas) and he hailed from the border village "Lia" of  Filata in Thesprotia. It is the only Greek name mentioned in historical records, although it is said that many Greeks fought by the side of the oppressed Boers against the British colonialists.

John Costas arrived in South Africa in 1899, after having passed through many other African countries. That time the Anglo-Boer War was in progress and John fought with the Boers. Thus, we find John Costas, under the commands of General Jacobus Hercules de la Rey, at the famous trenches of Magersfontein in the bloodiest battle of the war in the hills of Spion Kop (01/21/1900).

In the great battle in the canyon of Paardeberg near the Modder River (28-2-1900), John Costas captured by the British with 4,000 Boers and sent to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).That time was also the fabled meeting with the young Winston Churchill, who was watching the war as a correspondent for the newspaper of London "Morning Post".

Indeed, locally and temporally coincident presence of both Costas and Winston  at Transvaal. So on 11/15/1899 Churchill captured prisoner by the Boers. In the same region were Costas acted.

Apparently among the Boers who conceived prisoners were Churchill and John Costas. He returned to South Africa from Ceylon  after the peace treaty in May 1902 and settled on the campus of South Africa, Stelenmposch, where he opened a cafe.

In 1912 he returned to the, occupied by Turks, Epirus and formed militias who fought against the Turks. He also took part in the effort for autonomy in Northern Epirus.

Those evidence are the only ones that we collect from the few sources that include names of soldiers of that period. Greek presence in South Africa is also referred at the 18th century, so it is almost certain that many other Greeks , involved in the Anglo-Boer war.




Translated from Greek language.