Louis Botha

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Botha, Louis

(bō`tə), 1862–1919, South African soldier and statesman. A Boer (Afrikaner), he participated in the founding (1884) of the New Republic, which joined (1888) the Transvaal. Although Botha had little previous military experience, he brilliantly commanded Boer troops in the South African War. He besieged the British at Ladysmith and defeated their forces at Colenso. In 1900 he succeeded General Joubert as commander of the Transvaal army and led its remnants in guerrilla fighting. After the war (1902) he favored cooperation with the British. Botha was (1907–10) premier of the Transvaal. As the leader of the United South African, or Unionist, party he was prime minister of the Union of South Africa from its organization (1910) until his death, and he was ably assisted by Jan Christiaan SmutsSmuts, Jan Christiaan
, 1870–1950, South African statesman and soldier, b. Cape Colony.

Of Boer (Afrikaner) stock but a British subject by birth, he was educated at Victoria College (at Stellenbosch) and at Cambridge, where he won highest honors in law.
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. In World War I, Botha declared South Africa a belligerent on the side of the Allies. He suppressed a Boer revolt and in 1915 led the forces that conquered the German colony of South West Africa.


See biography by E. Buxton (1924); B. Williams, Botha, Smuts, and South Africa (1946); N. G. Garson, Louis Botha or John X. Merriman (1969).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Botha, Louis


Born Sept. 27, 1862, in Greytown, Natal; died Aug. 28, 1919, in Pretoria. Statesman of the Boer Transvaal Republic and subsequently of the Union of South Africa; general.

During the Boer War of 1899–1902, Botha served as commander in chief of the Transvaal forces from 1900. After the war he began cooperating with the British colonizers. In 1907 he became head of the government of the Transvaal colony, and from 1910 to 1919 he was premier of the Union of South Africa. The Botha government put through a number of laws directed at the oppression of and discrimination against the indigenous African population. In 1914, Botha actively promoted the entry of the Union of South Africa into World War I on the side of the Triple Entente. The government put down the uprising of Boer nationalists headed by C. De Wet and supported by Germany. In 1915 the forces of the Union of South Africa, led by Botha, occupied South West Africa.


Tsetlin, M. Voina burov za nezavisimost’ (1899–1902). Moscow, 1940.
Engelenburg, F. V. General Louis Botha. London, 1929.
Williams, B. Botha, Smuts, and South Africa. London, [1948].
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Critique: An impressively researched, exceptionally well written, meticulously documented and detailed account, "Louis Botha's War: The Campaign in South West Africa, 1914-1915" by travel writer, conservation correspondent, and now historian Adam Cruise is an inherently fascinating and informative read which is strongly recommended for community and academic library 20th Century History collections in general, and Boer War supplemental studies reading lists in particular.
"Those three men were; General Louis Botha, who went on to become the first prime minister of unionised South Africa, and then sent allied South African troops to fight against Germany in World War I.
Beyers, Louis Botha and Jan Smuts-formed the inner core of leadership for Het Volk.
Louis Botha and Jan Smuts said as much and publicly censured Beyers for his "loose talk".
(18.) See the verbatim testimony of General Louis Botha at Pretoria on 2 May 1902 in the appendix of Christiaan De Wet, Three Years War, 355-357; see also British Parliamentary Papers (henceforth: BPP) LXIX Cd 820 (1901), "From Lord Kithchener to the Under Secretary of State for War, War Office, London S.W.," Pretoria, 8th August 1901.
(34.) See the verbatim testimony of General Louis Botha on the impact of the British blockhouses at the gathering of the republican General Staff or War Council at Pretoria in May 1902: De Wet, Three Years War, 355.
Artist Beezy Baily dressed up the statue of Louis Botha, a turn-of-the-century Boer general and prime minister, for an arts festival to celebrate the new South Africa, which shed apartheid in 1994.
While the reader may not be delighted to learn that Krikler rejects EP Thompson's definition of class consciousness, he will take delight in some of the details of what happened, of how blacks contributed to the British war effort and then tried to prevent the distinguished Boer general, Louis Botha, from regaining possession of his farm.
Its first prime minister was Louis Botha (1862-1919), who had fought for the Boers during the Boer War.
1912 - Louis Botha resigns as South Africa's premier.
High among them was Sir Abraham Bailey, friend to Cecil Rhodes, connected by marriage to Winston Churchill and able to call on the likes of Field Marshal Lord Haig and Louis Botha as godparents to his son, Derrick.
Attempts to make peace failed in 1901, but the Boer position was growing desperate and in April 1902, under safe conduct from Kitchener, six Boer leaders conferred at Klerksdorp in Transvaal -- President Schalk Burger, Louis Botha and de la Rey from Transvaal and President M.T.