Tourism, Accommodation and Historical Attractions in Natal, South Africa

The Natal Battlefields

The British Arrive in Durban - and Leave

The British leave Durban and the Voortrekkers establish their republic.

The British leave Durban

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There had been a change of British Governor in the Cape - Sir Benjamin D'Urban had been replaced by Sir George Napier who was concerned about the treatment of the Africans by the trekkers. Major Samuel Charters was dispatched to Durban with the job of denying the Voortrekkers stores that arrived for them.

After several chilly confrontations with Pretorius, Captain Henry Jervis who was more placatory and wished to mediate between Dingane and the Voortrekkers replaced Charters. Dingane agreed to pay 19,000 cattle in reparations to the Voortrekkers but was loath to part with a single one.

The Voortrekkers Leave

The British had no intention of annexing the whole of Natal and with the prevailing views in Whitehall of limiting British colonialism, the British withdrew from the fort in December 1839.

This was taken to be the final withdrawal and the Voortrekkers believed that their republic was now a matter of fact. They reoccupied Durban and established Pietermaritzburg as the capital, built a volksraad (people's hall/Parliament) on the site of the present City Hall and recommenced bickering.

This was the end of the adventure for many Voortrekkers but events were still happening on the highveld.

Next: The Natal Republiek

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