The Black War, which occurred from the mid-1820s to 1832, was a violent conflict was between British colonists and Aboriginal Australians. The Aboriginal Australians were thought to have spanned 40,000 to 45,000 years, although some estimates have put the figure at up to 60,000 years before the settlement of the first Europeans in the region. The conflict, fought largely as a guerrilla war by both sides, claimed the lives of more than 200 European colonists and around 900 Aboriginal people.
The Black War started by the rapid growth of British settlers and agricultural livestock throughout the areas of Tasmania that were hunting grounds for the Aboriginal people. It is also believed that another driving force of the attacks were poverty; as the hunting grounds were shrinking and the native game was disappearing, hunting was becoming more dangerous.
As a way to avenge themselves for the atrocities committed by the British settlers, convicts, and soldiers, such as widespread rape, murder, and kidnapping against Aboriginal woman and girls, the Aboriginal people attacked the settlers.
Fearing for their lives, the Europeans attacked back mainly at night or in the early hours of the morning with soldiers, civilians and anyone who would join the pursuit parties. However, the Aboriginal people attacked during daylight with weapons that were mainly used to kill livestock. Bounties were often offered for those who captured or killed Aboriginal people.
Conflict between the Aboriginal people and British settlers was almost completely ceased after January 1832. Almost 200 additional Aboriginal people were forcibly removed to Hunter Island and then Flinders Island.
The term “Black War” was coined in 1835 by journalist Henry Melville.