Farmer (Afrikaans); generally used in eighteenth and nineteenth century to refer to white South African settlers of Dutch, German, and French Huguenot origin; generally supplanted by the term Afrikaner ( q.v.) in the twentieth century. See also Trekboer.
Boer is the Dutch (and Afrikaans) word for farmer which came to denote the descendants of the Afrikaans-speaking pastoralists of the eastern Cape frontier in South Africa as well as those who left the Cape Colony to settle in the Orange Free State, Transvaal and to a lesser extent Natal. Their primary motivation for moving was to escape British rule in the Cape as well as the constant border wars on the eastern frontier. The Trekboere, as they were known, are descended mainly from Dutch Calvinist, Frisian Calvinist, French Huguenot, Flemish and German Protestant origins dating from the 1650s and into the 1700s.