3. The 19th century Boere states Print


Book: Boerestaat, by Robert van Tonder
First English Edition [1977]


Chapter 3

The 19th century Boere states

The Boere states (1838 - 1902)

In the previous century our Boere faulk already had our own sovereign states. They were the Republic of Natalia, the Republic of the Orange Free State, the Transvaal Republic (Z.A.R.) and the Republic of Vryheid. Britain destroyed all these states and subjugated the Boere.

The Netherlands occupied the Cape in 1652 and colonised it with “vryburgers”[8]. The trek to the interior started almost immediately. Not only to acquire living space but, and this is seldom mentioned, also to escape Dutch tyranny. The first Boere republics of Swellendam and Graaf-Reinet were established as early as 1795 in opposition to Dutch domination. But in 1806, after the British took over the Cape from the Dutch, the subjugation of us Boere started in earnest.

Our Boere language was prohibited in the schools and government offices. A Dutch dictatorship was replaced by an iniquitous British dictatorship and by 1830 we Boere, who already was developed our own unique language and culture on the frontier, started leaving the Cape Colony in an enormous mass migration. This was the so called “Great Trek”, the true birth of the Boere faulk. By discarding the yoke of foreign rulers and taking charge of our destiny these emigrant Boere gave Birth to a new faulk, the Boere faulk.

There were two major schools of thought. Piet Retief believed that freedom and independence could be obtained through negotiation with the British, and the Zulus of Natal. The more far-sighted Hendrik Potgieter believed in moving as far away from the British as possible – and this included staying away from the sea – into an area unoccupied by blacks. Retief said: “Natal ho!” Potgieter said: “[Orange. Ed.] Free State and Transvaal ho!” Potgieter proved to be the wiser and more far-sighted man. Retief's plans ended in tragedy and failure. Potgieter's actions led to the successful establishment of the sovereign Boere states of Transvaal and [Orange. Ed.] Free State which were accorded international recognition.

8. Literally – 'Free Citizens'
9. Migration

President M. T. Steyn, last president of the Republic of the Orange Free State

President Paul Kruger, last president of the Transvaal Boere Republic

General Lucas Meyer, President of the Republic of Vryheid that was incorporated into the Transvaal Boere Republic in 1888

Chapter 2 - Contents - Chapter 4