|Category: The Leaders
Leaders in the 2nd Boer War
Stephanus Johannes Paulus (1825-1904)
of the South African Republic, and generally recognised as the greatest
figure Afrikanerdom produced.
Of German origin, his family came from the Uckermark, north of Berlin,
where the name is not uncommon. He himself wrote it with the umlaut (Krüger)
after the German fashion.
Research by Professor C.J. Uys of the University of the then Orange Free
State shows that he was born not at Steynsburg, Eastern Cape Province,
but on the farm Zoutpansdrift, near Venterstad.
His birth date may also
be incorrect. His father, Kasper Jan Hendrik Kruger, and his mother,
Elsie Fransina Steyn, joined the Great Trek and Paul experienced all the
hardships of the time. At 15 he was recognised as a burgher. He married
at 17 and settled on his farm, Waterkloof, near Rustenburg in the
|One of his early hunting experiences was of having to
amputate his own thumb after an injury. He became a strong protagonist
of the Dopper sect in whose churches he remained a lay preacher to the
end of his life. He
participated in several native wars, and in 1854 showed outstanding
bravery in rescuing the body of Commandant Potgeiter from the besieged
mountain stronghold of Chief Makapan.
Unsuccessfully he worked for the unification of the Transvaal with the
Orange Free State.
During the ensuing Civil War he backed van Rensburg
and seized the town of Potchefstroom. After the failure of President
Burger's over-ambitious program, he became one of the mainstays of the
national resistance to the British annexation policy. After Shepstone
had hoisted the British flag in 1877, he joined the protesting
deputation to London, impressing many with his innate skill as a
Failing, he concentrated on anti-British propaganda amongst
his own people in the Transvaal, and as Vice-President of the South
African Republic, accompanied another fruitless deputation to London and
the Continent in 1878. From then on he built up resistance to British
administration, and when the real revolt began in 1880 he became a
member of the Triumvirate. He attended peace negotiations and, as
Vice-President, summoned the extraordinary session of the Volksraad that
confirmed the Convention of Pretoria.
In 1883 he was first elected President
of the Z.A.R. and became its dominating personality. Following the
Barberton and Witwatersrand gold discoveries, the enormous increase of
foreigners confronted him with his life's problem, that of reconciling
the supremacy of the Boers with justice to the immigrants. He failed to
obtain a sea-coast near St. Lucia Bay and had continued frontier
skirmishes in Swaziland and in the area adjoining Bechuanaland, where
British sovereignty clashed with the power of the Transvaal. Moreover,
he had to restrain his burghers from crossing the Limpopo in order to
prevent friction with Cecil Rhodes. In 1888, elected President for the
second time, he came into even stronger conflict with Rhodes.
Uitlanders were friendly, while others were extremely hostile. To
counter-balance British influence, he introduced many Dutch officials,
headed by the State Secretary Dr. W.J. Leyds, and favoured the
construction of a railway line to Lourenço Marques before the
completion of any through British territory. In this he was
unsuccessful. In Europe, however, he evoked sympathy and admiration for
his diplomatic skill, and particularly impressed Prince Bismarck.
In the Transvaal, amid overwhelming difficulties, he was charged with
deliberately obstructing the development of the Rand, with nepotism,
with corruption and many other offences. On the other hand his own
people venerated him increasingly. Efforts to ease the situation between
the Uitlanders and the Government were nullified by the occurrence of
the Jameson Raid at the end of 1895. The leaders of the British cause,
notably Cecil John Rhodes, Joseph Chamberlain and Lord Milner, were
insistent that the Uitlanders be given the franchise, but Kruger refused
more than a token concession, because they outnumbered his burghers.
- This bracelet was made from 5
coins each of sixpence value, each bearing the likeness of
- The coins were dated 1895 and
the time he was ready to compromise, the South African War had become
inevitable. Although very moderate in his treatment of the Jameson
Raiders, whom he handed over for trial to the British, and in that of
the Reformers, whose sentences he commuted to fines and banishment, he
was unable to cope with the position any longer. He was re-elected by a
large majority in 1898 and war broke out in October 1899. Though over
74, in bad health and unable to stand the campaigning, he paid several
visits to the commandos in the field and remained in Pretoria until May
29, 1900, he boarded the warship Gelderland sent out by Queen Wilhelmina
to Lourenço Marques.
He proceeded first to France and then to Holland,
where he remained until the end of the war, doing his utmost to rally
assistance for the Boer republics, and where he began dictating his
memoirs. He moved to Switzerland and died there. He was buried in the
Old Cemetery in Pretoria. text from www.bowlerhat.com.au/sawvl/bio_boerpol.html
South African soldier and statesman. A Boer (Afrikaner), he participated
in the founding (1884) of the New Republic, which joined (1888) the
Transvaal. Although Botha had little previous military experience, he
brilliantly commanded Boer troops in the South African War. He besieged
the British at Ladysmith and defeated their forces at Colenso. In 1900
he succeeded General Joubert as commander of the Transvaal army and led
its remnants in guerrilla fighting. After the war (1902) he favored
cooperation with the British. Botha was (1907–10) premier of the
Transvaal. As the leader of the United South African, or Unionist, party
he was Prime Minister of the Union
of South Africa from its
organization (1910) until his death, and he was ably assisted by Jan
Christiaan Smuts. In World War I, Botha declared South Africa a
belligerent on the side of the Allies. He suppressed a Boer revolt and
in 1915 led the forces that conquered the German colony of South West
||Christiaan Rudolf de Wet
b. Oct. 7, 1854, Smithfield District, Orange Free State [now in South
d. Feb. 3, 1922, Dewetsdorp district, South Africa
Boer soldier and statesman, regarded by Afrikaner
nationalists as one of their greatest heroes.
He won renown as Commander
in Chief of the Orange Free State forces in the South African War
(1899-1902) and was a leader in the Afrikaner rebellion of 1914.
As a young man de Wet saw action in the Sotho wars of the 1860s and
again with the Transvaal Boers in their struggle for independence
In peacetime, de Wet, though a reluctant politician, served
in the Volksraad (parliament) of the Transvaal and later in that of the
Orange Free State.
At the beginning of the South African War, he headed a militia unit, and
his military ingenuity and daring soon led to his appointment as
commander in chief of the Orange Free State forces. With British troops
in possession of much of his country, de Wet switched to hit-and-run
guerrilla tactics. His military feats and miraculous escapes became
legendary. It was with considerable reluctance that he surrendered, and,
as acting president of the Orange Free State for one day, he signed the
Peace of Vereeniging (May 1902).
From 1907 to 1910 de Wet served as minister of agriculture in the Orange
Free State and participated in the convention (1908-09) that framed the
constitution of the Union of South Africa. After the split between Prime
Minister Louis Botha and J.B.M. Hertzog, de Wet joined Hertzog in
founding the National Party (1914). The breach was widened with the
outbreak of World War I, when de Wet opposed Botha's decision to conquer
German South West Africa (now Namibia). De Wet's efforts to organize a
rebellion led to his capture (December 1914) and a sentence of six years
in prison for treason.
After serving a year, however, he was released and allowed to live
quietly on his farm.
From "Wet, Christiaan Rudolf
de" Encyclopædia Britannica Online