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Andries Wilhelmus Jacobus Pretorius (27 November 179823 July 1853) was a leader of the
Boer Boers () ( af , Boere) refers to the descendants of the proto-Afrikaans-speaking colonists of the eastern Cape frontier in Southern Africa during the 18th and much of the 19th century. From 1652 to 1795, the Dutch East India Company controlle ...
s who was instrumental in the creation of the
South African Republic The South African Republic ( nl, Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek; the ZAR; also known as the Transvaal Republic, af, Suid-Afrikaanse Republiek) was an independent and internationally recognised state in what is now South Africa, from 1852 to 1902. ...
, as well as the earlier but short-lived
Natalia Republic The Natalia Republic was a short-lived Boer republic founded in 1839 after a Voortrekker victory against the Zulus at the Battle of Blood River. The area was previously named ''Natália'' by Portuguese sailors, due to its discovery on Christmas ...
, in present-day
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 59 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital cities: e ...
. The large city of
Pretoria Pretoria (; zu, ePitoli) is one of South Africa’s three capital cities, serving as the seat of the executive branch of government, and as the host to all foreign embassies to South Africa. (Cape Town is the legislative capital and Bloemfontei ...
, executive capital of
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 59 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital cities: e ...
, is named after him.


Early life and background

Pretorius was educated at home and although a school education wasn't a priority on the eastern frontier of the
Cape Colony The Cape Colony ( nl, Kaapkolonie), also known as the Cape of Good Hope, was a British colony in present-day South Africa named after the Cape of Good Hope. The British colony was preceded by an earlier Corporate colony that became a Dutch col ...
, he was literate enough to read the Bible and write his thoughts down on paper. Pretorius had five children, the eldest of whom,
Marthinus Wessel Pretorius Marthinus Wessel Pretorius (17 September 1819 – 19 May 1901) was the first president of the South African Republic, and also compiled the constitution of the Republic. After the death of his father, the Voortrekker leader Andries Pretorius, ...

Marthinus Wessel Pretorius
, later became the first President of the South African Republic. Pretorius descended from the line of the earliest Dutch settlers in the Cape Colony. He belonged to the fifth generation of the progenitor, Johannes Pretorius son of Reverend Wessel Schulte of the
Netherlands The Netherlands ( nl, Nederland ), informally referred to as Holland, is a country primarily located in Western Europe and partly in the Caribbean. It is the largest of four constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In Europe, the ...

Netherlands
. Schulte in his time as a theology student at the University of Leiden changed his name to the Latin form and therefore became Wesselius Praetorius (later Pretorius). Although the details of Andries Pretorius' early life are scant, it is most likely that grew up on his father's farm named Driekoppen, about 40 kilometres north-east of
Graaff-Reinet Graaff-Reinet is a town in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. It is the fourth-oldest town in South Africa, after Cape Town, Stellenbosch, and Swellendam. The town was the center of a short-lived republic in the late 18th century. The to ...
.


Career

In September 1836, after the up company of
Gerrit Maritz Gerhardus Marthinus (Gert or Gerrit) Maritz (1 March 1797 – 23 September 1838), was a Voortrekker pioneer and leader, wagon builder. Gerrit Maritz was the son of Salamo Stefanus Maritz and Maria Elizabeth Oosthuizen. He married Agnita Maria Oli ...
left Graaff-Reinet to go northwards, those that stayed behind including Pretorius began to strongly consider leaving the
Cape Colony The Cape Colony ( nl, Kaapkolonie), also known as the Cape of Good Hope, was a British colony in present-day South Africa named after the Cape of Good Hope. The British colony was preceded by an earlier Corporate colony that became a Dutch col ...
. He left his home in October 1837 on a scouting expedition to visit the Trekkers. Eventually, Pretorius left the Cape Colony permanently. He abandoned his trek towards the Modderrivier and made haste to the Klein-Tugela river in Natal when he was summoned to lead the Voortrekkers who were there leaderless;
Gerrit Maritz Gerhardus Marthinus (Gert or Gerrit) Maritz (1 March 1797 – 23 September 1838), was a Voortrekker pioneer and leader, wagon builder. Gerrit Maritz was the son of Salamo Stefanus Maritz and Maria Elizabeth Oosthuizen. He married Agnita Maria Oli ...
died of illness and
Andries Potgieter Andries Hendrik Potgieter, known as Hendrik Potgieter (19 December 1792 – 16 December 1852) was a Voortrekker leader and the last known Champion of the Potgieter family. He served as the first head of state of Potchefstroom from 1840 and 1845 ...
left Natal moving deeper inland. At the command of the Zulu king
Dingane Dingane ka Senzangakhona Zulu (–29 January 1840), commonly referred to as Dingane or Dingaan, was a Zulu chief who became king of the Zulu Kingdom in 1828. He set up his royal capital, uMgungundlovu, and one of numerous military encampments, o ...

Dingane
,
Piet Retief Pieter Mauritz Retief (12 November 1780 – 6 February 1838) was a ''Voortrekker'' leader. Settling in 1814 in the frontier region of the Cape Colony, he assumed command of punitive expeditions in response to raiding parties from the adjacent Xho ...
was murdered in February 1838 along with his men. They were invited under false pretenses, during a negotiations visit, along with 70 men with boys among them and with 30 servants to enter the Zulu
kraal 260px, An illustration of a kraal near Bulawayo in the 19th century. Kraal (also spelled ''craal'' or ''kraul'') is an Afrikaans and Dutch word, also used in South African English, for an enclosure for cattle or other livestock, located within a ...
Mgungundlovu unarmed. Pretorius arrived at the desperate Trekkers' main camp on 22 November 1838. Pretorius' diligence and thorough action immediately instilled confidence and he was appointed chief commander of the punitive commando against Dingane. 200px, left, Statue of Pretorius in Pretoria Pretorius led 470 men with 64 wagons into Dingane's territory and on the dawn of 16 December 1838, next to the Ncome river, they achieved victory over an attacking army of 10,000 to 15,000 Zulu warriors. The Voortrekkers fought with
muzzle-loading riflesA muzzle-loading rifle is a muzzle-loaded small arm or artillery piece that has a rifled barrel rather than a smoothbore. The term "rifled muzzle loader" typically is used to describe a type of artillery piece, although it is technically accurate for ...
and made use of two small cannons. The Zulus sustained losses of an estimated 3,000 warriors in the
Battle of Blood River The Battle of Blood River (16 December 1838) was fought on the bank of the Ncome River, in what is today KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa between 464 Voortrekkers ("Pioneers"), led by Andries Pretorius, and an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 Zulu . Casual ...
. The Boers sustained no casualties. Three men were injured, including Andries Pretorius who was injured on his hand by an Assegai. The Boers believe that God granted them victory and thus promised that they and their descendants would commemorate the day of the battle as a day of rest. Boers memorialized it as "Dingane's Day" until 1910. It was renamed "Day of the Vow", later " Day of the Covenant", and made a public holiday by the first South African government. After the end of
apartheid Apartheid (South African English: ; , segregation; lit. "aparthood") was a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa and South West Africa (now Namibia) from 1948 until the early 1990s. Apartheid wa ...
in 1994, the new government kept the day as a public holiday as an act of conciliation to Boers, but renamed it "
Day of Reconciliation The Day of Reconciliation is a public holiday in South Africa held annually on 16 December. The holiday came into effect in 1995 after the end of apartheid, with the intention of fostering reconciliation and national unity for the country. The ...
". In January 1840, Pretorius with a commando of 400 ''burghers'', helped
Mpande Mpande kaSenzangakhona (1798–18 October 1872) was monarch of the Zulu Kingdom from 1840 to 1872. He was a half-brother of Sigujana, Shaka and Dingane, who preceded him as Zulu kings. He came to power after he had overthrown Dingane in 1840. His ...
in his revolt against his half-brother Dingane. Mpande and Pretorius defeated Dingane's army at the
Battle of Maqongqo The Battle of Maqongqo was fought on 29 January 1840 during a civil war between Zulu factions. The Zulu king Dingane was challenged for the throne by his brother Mpande, in alliance with Boer settlers led by Andries Pretorius. Mpande and his suppo ...
, which forced Dingane and those loyal to him into exile, after which Dingane was soon murdered. Immediately thereafter, Pretorius announced that Boer territory in Natal had been greatly enlarged due to the terms agreed with Mpande for Boer assistance. He was also the leader of the Natal Boers faction which opposed British designs on territory they had already staked claims on. In 1842, Pretorius besieged the small British garrison at
Durban Durban ( ) ( zu, eThekwini, from meaning 'the bay'), nicknamed ''Durbs'',Ishani ChettyCity nicknames in SA and across the worldArticle on ''news24.com'' from 25 October 2017. Retrieved 2021-03-05.
, but retreated to
Pietermaritzburg Pietermaritzburg (; Zulu: umGungundlovu) is the capital and second-largest city in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It was founded in 1838 and is currently governed by the Msunduzi Local Municipality. Its Zulu name umGungundlovu is th ...
on the arrival of reinforcements under Colonel Josias Cloete. Afterward, he exerted his influence with the Boers to reach a peaceful solution with the British authorities, who annexed Natalia instead. Remaining in Natal as a British subject, in 1847 Pretorius was chosen by the Boer farmers to present their grievances to the governor of
Cape Colony The Cape Colony ( nl, Kaapkolonie), also known as the Cape of Good Hope, was a British colony in present-day South Africa named after the Cape of Good Hope. The British colony was preceded by an earlier Corporate colony that became a Dutch col ...
. They were concerned about the continuous migration of natives who were assigned locations to the detriment of Boer land claims. Pretorius went to
Grahamstown Makhanda, commonly known as Grahamstown, is a town of about 70,000 people in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. It is situated about northeast of Gqeberha and southwest of East London. Makhanda is the largest town in the Makana Local Mu ...
to seek an audience with the governor, Sir
Henry Pottinger Lieutenant-General Sir Henry Pottinger, 1st Baronet (; 3 October 1789 – 18 March 1856) was an Anglo-Irish soldier and colonial administrator who became the first Governor of Hong Kong. Early life Henry Pottinger was born at his family estate ...

Henry Pottinger
, but he refused to see Pretorius or receive any communication from him. Pretorius returned to Natal determined to abandon his farm and move beyond the reach of the British authorities. With a considerable following, he was preparing to cross the Drakensberg when
Sir Harry Smith Lieutenant-General Sir Henry George Wakelyn Smith, 1st Baronet, (28 June 1787 – 12 October 1860) was a notable English soldier and military commander in the British Army of the early 19th century. A veteran of the Napoleonic Wars, he is also p ...
, newly appointed governor of the Cape, reached the emigrants' camp on the
Tugela River The Tugela River ( zu, Thukela; af, Tugelarivier) is the largest river in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. It is one of the most important rivers of the country. The river originates in Mont-aux-Sources of the Drakensberg Mountains and plung ...
in January 1848. Smith promised the farmers protection from the natives and persuaded many of the party to remain. Pretorius departed, and, on the proclamation of British sovereignty up to the
Vaal River The Vaal River ( ; Khoemana: ) is the largest tributary of the Orange River in South Africa. The river has its source near Breyten in Mpumalanga province, east of Johannesburg and about north of Ermelo and only about from the Indian Ocean. It t ...
, fixed his residence in the
Magaliesberg The Magaliesberg (historically also known as ''Macalisberg'' or ''Cashan Mountains'') of northern South Africa, is a modest but well-defined mountain range composed mainly of quartzites. It rises at a point south of the Pilanesberg (and the Pila ...
, north of that river. He was chosen by the ''burghers'' living on both banks of the Vaal as their commandant-general. At the request of the Boers at
Winburg Winburg is a small mixed farming town in the Free State province of South Africa. It is the oldest proclaimed town (1837) in the Orange Free State, South Africa and thus along with Griquastad, one of the oldest settlements in South Africa locat ...
, Pretorius crossed the Vaal in July and led the anti-British party in a brief revolt, occupying
Bloemfontein Bloemfontein, ( ; , "fountain of flowers") also known as Bloem, is the capital city of the Free State Province of South Africa; and, as the judicial capital of the nation, one of South Africa's three national capitals (the other two being Cape ...
on 20 July. In August, he was defeated at Boomplaats by Smith and retreated to the north of the Vaal. He became leader of one of the largest of the parties into which the
TransvaalTransvaal is a historical geographic term associated with land north of (''i.e.'', beyond) the Vaal River in South Africa. A number of states and administrative divisions have carried the name Transvaal. * South African Republic (1856–1902; af, Zu ...
Boers were divided, and commandant-general of
Potchefstroom Potchefstroom (, colloquially Potch) is an academic city in the North West Province of South Africa. It hosts the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University. Potchefstroom is on the Mooi Rivier (Afrikaans for "pretty river"), roughly w ...
and
Rustenburg Rustenburg (; , Afrikaans and Dutch: ''Town of Rest'') is a city at the foot of the Magaliesberg mountain range. Rustenburg is the most populous city in the North West Province of South Africa (549,575 in 2011 and 626,522 in the 2016 census). In ...
, his principal rival being Commandant-General of Zoutpansberg A. H. Potgieter. In 1851, Boer malcontents in the
Orange River Sovereignty The Orange River Sovereignty (1848–1854) was a short-lived political entity between the Orange and Vaal rivers in Southern Africa, a region known informally as Transorangia. In 1854, it became the Orange Free State, and is now the Free State pro ...
and the
Basotho The Sotho people, or Basotho , are a Bantu ethnic group of Southern Africa who speak Sesotho. They are native to modern Lesotho and South Africa. The Basotho have inhabited the region since around the fifth century CE and are closely related t ...
chief
Moshoeshoe I Moshoeshoe () (c. 1776 – 11 March 1870) was born at Menkhoaneng in the northern part of present-day Lesotho. He was the first son of Mokhachane, a minor chief of the Bamokoteli lineage- a branch of the Koena (crocodile) clan. In his youth, he h ...
asked Pretorius to come to their aid. He announced his intention of crossing the Vaal to "restore order" in the Sovereignty. His goal was to obtain an acknowledgment of the independence of the Transvaal Boers from the British. Having decided on a policy of abandonment, the British cabinet entertained his proposal. The government withdrew its reward of 2000 pounds, which had been offered for his capture after the Boomplaats battle. Pretorius met the British commissioners near the Sand River. On 17 January 1852 they concluded the convention by which the independence of the Transvaal Boers was recognized by Britain. Pretorius recrossed the
Vaal River The Vaal River ( ; Khoemana: ) is the largest tributary of the Orange River in South Africa. The river has its source near Breyten in Mpumalanga province, east of Johannesburg and about north of Ermelo and only about from the Indian Ocean. It t ...
, and on 16 March he reconciled with Potgieter at Rustenburg. The followers of both leaders approved the convention, although the Potgieter party was not represented. In the same year, Pretorius paid a visit to Durban with the object of opening up trade between Natal and the new republic. In 1852, he also attempted to close the road to the interior through Bechuanaland and sent a commando to the western border against Sechele. Pretorius died at his home at Magaliesberg in July 1853. He is described by George McCall Theal, Theal as "the ablest leader and most perfect representative of the Emigrant Farmers." In 1855, a new district and a new town were formed out of the Potchefstroom and Rustenburg districts by his son,
Marthinus Wessel Pretorius Marthinus Wessel Pretorius (17 September 1819 – 19 May 1901) was the first president of the South African Republic, and also compiled the constitution of the Republic. After the death of his father, the Voortrekker leader Andries Pretorius, ...

Marthinus Wessel Pretorius
, who named them
Pretoria Pretoria (; zu, ePitoli) is one of South Africa’s three capital cities, serving as the seat of the executive branch of government, and as the host to all foreign embassies to South Africa. (Cape Town is the legislative capital and Bloemfontei ...
in honour of the late commandant-general. Marthinus Wessel Pretorius was the first president of the Transvaal Republic.


See also

*Battle of Congella *
Battle of Blood River The Battle of Blood River (16 December 1838) was fought on the bank of the Ncome River, in what is today KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa between 464 Voortrekkers ("Pioneers"), led by Andries Pretorius, and an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 Zulu . Casual ...


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Pretorius, Andries Members of the Volksraad of the South African Republic South African Republic politicians 1798 births 1853 deaths Afrikaner people Great Trek History of KwaZulu-Natal People from the Eastern Cape 1850s in the South African Republic 19th-century South African people History of Pretoria Orange Free State independence activists