The War of the Axe was the seventh of nine small wars which broke out between the Xhosa and British in South Africa. The series of wars is known as the Frontier Wars (at the time they were known as the Kaffir Wars, although this term has pejorative overtones today).
War was declared when the Xhosa refused to hand over the people responsible for the murder of a Khoikhoi escort who was taking an amaXhosa thief to Grahamstown for trial. The thief had stolen an axe.
The War of the Axe lasted from March 1846 to 1847 when the Paramount chief of the Xhosa, Sarili, finally surrendered.