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Andries Pretorius

Andries Pretorius
Andries Pretorius.jpg
1st Chairman of the United Volksraad
Personal details
Born Andries Wilhelmus Jacobus Pretorius
(1798-11-27)27 November 1798
Graaff-Reinet, Cape Colony
Died 23 July 1853(1853-07-23) (aged 54)
Magaliesberg, South African Republic
Resting place Heroes' Acre, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
Children Marthinus Wessel Pretorius
Military service
Allegiance  South African Republic
Flag of Natalia Republic.svg Natalia Republic
Voortrekker flag.svg Voortrekkers
Years of service 1838–1852
Rank Commandant-General
Commands Transvaal and Orange River Commandos
Battles/wars Battle of Blood River
Battle of Boomplaats

Andries Wilhelmus Jacobus Pretorius (27 November 1798 – 23 July 1853) was a leader of the Boers who was instrumental in the creation of the South African Republic, as well as the earlier but short-lived Natalia Republic, in present-day South Africa. The large city of Pretoria, executive capital of South Africa, is named after him.

Pretorius received his education at home and although a school education wasn't a priority on the eastern frontier of the Cape Colony, he was schooled enough to read the Bible and put his thoughts down on paper. Andries Pretorius had five children, the oldest, 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. 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's early life are scant, he probably grew up on his father's farm named Driekoppen, about 40 kilometers north-east of Graaf-Reinet.

In September 1836, after the up company of Gerrit Maritz left Graaff-Reinet to go northwards, those that stayed behind including Pretorius began to strongly consider leaving the Cape Colony. He left his home in October 1837 on a scouting expedition to visit the Trekkers. Eventually Pretorius would leave the Cape Colony permanently. He abandoned his trek toward 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 died of illness and Andries Potgieter left Natal moving deeper inland. At the command of the Zulu king Dingane, Piet Retief 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 Mgungundlovu unarmed.


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