Tourism, Accommodation and Historical Attractions in Natal, South Africa

The Natal Battlefields

The Voortrekkers - Epilogue.

The dreams of the Great Trek are realized but at a cost and with consequences 100 years later.

The Great Trek - Epilogue

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The Dream is Realized

The dreams of all those Voortrekkers who had crossed Orange River all those years before in February 1836 had now been realized. They were masters of two independent and recognized republics, the two greatest African nations had been defeated, the veld was finally quiet and the paroxysms of 1880, 1899 and the late 20th century were a long way away.

The Great Trek was not merely a mass migration but has taken on the gravity of an ordained chapter in Afrikaner history. The treachery of Dingane, the ferocity of Mzilikazi, the bluff, bluster and vacillations of the British Government are all colourful tableaux that decorate this part of the history of South Africa.

Consequences . . .

The memories of Maritz, Retief, Pretorius and Potgieter are as vivid today as they were 150 years ago. The events at Vegkop, Bloukrans, Blood River and dozens of other sites have burned into the consciousness of the Afrikaner people and the emotions they stirred were to have longlasting consequences.

The Timeline of the Great Trek

1806 Second British occupation of the Cape
1815 Slagters Nek Rebellion
1820 Influx of British missionaries
1822 Proclamation of gradual replacement of Dutch language by English
1824 Lieutenant Farewell receives a grant of land round Port Natal from Shaka
1826 Cape Colony's boundary extended to Orange river
1834 Emancipation of Slaves
Commissie Treks set out
(Christmas) 4th Kafir War begins
1835 Tregardt crosses Orange river and remains near Caledon river
December Potgieter begins to trek north from Tarka
December Rumours of Glenelg revocation of Queen Adelaide circulate
1836 early Tregardt prepares to trek north
February Potgieter party crosses Orange river
March Tredgardt crosses Vaal river
May Potgieter reaches Sand river and leaves to make contact with Tregardt
May (end} Tregardt reaches Zoutpansberg
June Potgieter joins Tregardt at Zoutpansberg
June 27 Potgieter reconnoitres over Limpopo river
c. July 15 Van Rensburg massacre
July (end) Potgieter returns to Tregardt's camp
July (end} Tregardt leaves to search for the Van Rensburg party
August Maritz trek leaves for the north from Graaff Reinet
August Potgieter leaves Zoutpansberg
August 25 Matabele attack trekker parties which have crossed Vaal river
September 2 Potgieter rejoins his party at Sand river
October 16 Battle of Vegkop
November (early) Maritz reaches Blesberg
December 2 Maritz and Potgieter draw up a constitution for trekkers
1837 ]anuary 17 Attack on Mosega
February Retief's manifesto is published
March Tregardt sends first message to Lourenco Marques
March Potgieter moves to Winburg area
April 1O Tregardt sends off second message to Lourenço Marques
April 17 Retief elected Governor
Uys moves north from Uitenhage
May Tregardt sends third message to Lourenco Marques
June Meeting approves constitution of Maatschappij
June Uys arrives at United Laagers
June end Smit installed as Trekkers' Predikant
August 7 Buys arrives at Tregardt's camp on Doorn river to conduct his party to Lourenço Marques
August 23 Tregardt sets off for Lourenço Marques
September 9 Retief announces that passes over Berg have been found
September 13 Trekkers hold meeting at Sand river and split into two groups; one under Retief heading for Berg, while Potgieter and Maritz ride north and organise a second punitive expedition against Matabele
October 2 Retief camps at site of Bethlehem
7 Retief gets first view of Natal
Rev. Francis Owen arrives at Umgungundhlovu
10 Retief arrives Port Natal
19 Greyling camps at Kerkenberg
November 4-12 Running fight against Matabele at Kapain
7 Retief arrives at Umgungundhlovu
11 Retief's messengers arrive at Kerkenberg
13 Trekkers begin the descent of the Berg
27 Retief rejoins his followers
30 Tregardt arrives at summit of Berg
December 23 Tregardt completes descent of Berg
28 Retief sets offfor Sekonyela's country
1838 January Sir George Napier succeeds Sir Benjamin D'Urban as Govern- or of the Cape
25 Retief sets off on his second visit to Umgungundhlovu
February 3 Retief arrives at Umgungundhlovu
6 Retief's party massacred on Kwa Matiwane
16/17 Bloukrans massacre
March 13 Tregardt crosses Lebombo range
April 11 Vlug Commando ambushed at Ithaleni
13 Tregardt arrives Lourenco Marques
17 Grand Army of Natal' destroyed at Ndondakusuka
May 1 Mrs Tregardt dies
16 Landman annexes Port Natal
By this time Potgieter was two days west of the Berg
June (middle) Potgieter acquires land between Vaal and Vet
August 13 Successful Boer defence of Veglaer
September 23 Maritz dies in Sooilaer
October 25 Tregardt dies at Lourenco Marques
November Potgieter settles at Potchefstroom
22 Pretorius reaches Sooilaer with reinforcements
28 Wen Commando moves out of Sooilaer
1838 December 4 British troops land at Port Natal
9 Oath of the Covenant
16 Battle of Blood river
Union Jack raised at Port Natal
27 Battle of the White Umfolozi
31 Pretorius burns the kraals round Umgungundhlovu prior to his departure
1839 July Twenty five survivors of the Tregardt trek are evacuated from Lourenco Marques
October Mpande flees into Natal with his followers
December 24 Jervis evacuates Port Natal
1840 January 14 Pretorius leads Beeste Commando over the Tugela
30 Nongalaza defeats Dingane`s army north of the Mkuzi river
February 14 Mpande crowned king of the Zulus
October Loose federation between Natalia and the highveld re- publics formed
1842 March (end) British troops under Major Smith begin march on Port Natal
May 3 British troops reoccupy Port Natal
23/24 Battle of Congella
June 25 Boer siege of Port Natal raised
December 12 British Cabinet decide on annexation of Natal
1844 April 9 Potgieter declares independence of Winburg-Potchefstroom
1845 April 30 Battle of Zwartkoppies
June Potgieter treks to Ohrigstad
December Republic of Natalia formally ceases to exist
1846 June-September Factional strife at Ohrigstad begins to reach its peak
1847 June Potgieter leads reconnaissance across Limpopo and then revisits the Zoutpansberg district
end Pretorius leads burghers from Natal to high veld
December Sir Harry Smith becomes Governor of the Cape
1848 early Potgieter's people migrate to the Zoutpansberg
February 3 Sir Harry Smith declares annexation of the Orange River Sovereignty
August 29 Battle of Boomplaats
1852 February 17 Sand River Convention
March 16 Reconciliation of Potgieter and Pretorius
August Potgieter leads his last commando in Sekwatiland
December 16 Potgieter dies
1853 July 23 Pretorius dies
1854 February 23 British abandon the Orange River Sovereignty

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