Pieter Retief

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Pieter Retief

Pieter Retief ( Afrikaans : / ˈpitəɹ rəˈtif /, often also Piet Retief / pit rəˈtif /) (born November 12, 1780 in Wellington , Kapland ; † February 6, 1838 at the locality kwaMatiwane near uMgungundlovu , Zululand ) was a Boer Voortrekker .

Pieter Retief came from a family that had lived in the Cape since 1688. He began his professional career as an importer of spirits, but he was not particularly economically talented. He gained reputation among the Boer settlers as a participant in operations against the local population.

When the Cape was initially occupied by the British and finally annexed in 1814 and became a Cape Colony , the Boers saw their freedoms increasingly restricted. The result was the " Great Trek ", in which around 12,000 Boers moved to northern South Africa from 1835 , colonized the country and founded the Boer republics that were later independent . One of the leaders of this trek was Pieter Retief.

On January 22, 1837, Retief published a much-discussed manifesto in the Grahamstown Journal , which amounted to a declaration of independence by the Boers. Then he followed the first Voortrekkers across the border. On April 17, 1837, a few days after his trek arrived at the large assembly camp north of the Orange River , Retief was elected governor and camp commander (military commander in chief) of all emigrants.

Despite resistance, especially Andries Hendrik Potgieters , who saw the future of the Boers far north inland, Retief pursued the goal of directing the trek to Natal . One of his main arguments was that as an independent nation you would need your own port and that only the small trading post Port Natal (now Durban ) could be considered. With some companions, Retief went to see the Zulu king Dingane in his kraal uMgungundlovu to negotiate the transfer of an uninhabited area. Dingane agreed, but demanded that the settlers first recover the livestock that had been stolen by his rival Sekonyela .

Retief accepted Dingane's offer and managed to get 700 head of cattle back, which he returned to the Zulu on February 3, 1838, accompanied by a 70-man commando . Dingane was pleased and signed a contract in which he transferred the area between the Tugela and Umzimvubu rivers, including the port of Natal, to the Boers . On February 6, 1838, Dingane invited Retief and his men again to the royal kraal in uMgungundlovu, where the Voortrekkers were asked to lay down their weapons. After Retief and his men were unarmed, Dingane gave the order to kill them. This happened not far from his kraal at the location kwaMatiwane (Execution hill). Thereupon he sent his regiments out to kill or drive away the groups of treks that had already infiltrated into the country.

The crisis of the Great Trek triggered by these events did not end until the Battle of the Blood River, which was victorious for the Boers, on December 16, 1838.

The first Boer settlement in Natal, Pietermaritzburg , which was laid out in early 1839, was named in honor of Pieter Retief and Gerrit Maritz , another trek leader and friend of Retief. Another city near the border with Swaziland is called Piet Retief .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Christoph Marx : In the sign of the ox wagon: the radical Afrikaaner nationalism in South Africa and the history of the Ossewabrandwag. LIT, Münster 1998, ISBN 3825839079 , p. 1. Excerpts from books.google.de
  2. Amafa / Heritage KwaZulu Natal: Piet Retief Grave . on www.emakhosini.co.za ( Memento of the original dated February 3, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (English) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.emakhosini.co.za