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Voortrekker


The Voortrekkers (Afrikaans and Dutch for pioneers, literally "fore-pullers", "those in front who pull", "fore-trekkers") mainly consisted of Trekboer pastoralists and Cape Dutch citizens from the Eastern frontier of the Cape Colony who during the 1830s and 1840s left the British controlled Cape; moving into the interior of what is now South Africa in what is known as the Great Trek. The Great Trek consisted of a number of mass movements under a number of different leaders. The Voortrekkers (and the Cape Dutch) are the direct ancestors of the Afrikaners of modern day South Africa. French Huguenot descendants were also included in the exodus of frontier farmers that was called the Great Trek.

Voortrekker Leaders arranged in order by size of party {number of families in brackets}:-

The total number of families that trekked under a trek leader is 1093. From available sources it was found that during the years 1835 to 1845 a total of about 2540 families took part in the Great Trek.

The Voortrekkers mainly came from the farming community of the Eastern Cape although some (such as Piet Retief) originally came from the Western Cape farming community while others (such as Gerrit Maritz) were successful tradesmen in the frontier towns. Some of them were wealthy men though most were not as they were from the poorer communities of the frontier. It was recorded that the 33 Voortrekker families at the Battle of Vegkop lost 100 horses, between 4,000 and 7,000 cattle, and between 40,000 and 50,000 sheep.

The Voortrekkers were mainly of Trekboer (migrating farmer) descent living in the eastern frontiers of the Cape. Hence, their ancestors had long established a semi-nomadic existence of trekking into expanding frontiers. Amongst the Voortrekkers were poor men too belonging to the squatter or bywoner class.


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Wikipedia

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