Dutch for farmer. The Boers were Dutchmen and Huguenots that settled in South Africa in the 1600-1700's. When Cape Colony came under British administration, they left northward in the Great Trek to found the Orange Free State and Transvaal, which eventually went to war with Britain, lost, and were absorbed into South Africa. (See Boer War.) Today the term Afrikaaner is more often used, and they make up 60% of the white population of the country.