Marthinus Wessel Pretorius
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Pretorius, Marthinus Wessel
Born Sept. 17, 1819, near Graaff-Reinet, Cape Province; died May 19, 1901, in Potchefstroom. Boer politician. Son of A. W. J. Pretorius.
Pretorius was one of the leaders of the Boer colonization of the lands north of the Vaal River that belonged to the Africans. He helped create the South African Republic (Transvaal). From 1857 to 1860 and from 1864 to 1871, Pretorius served as president of the South African Republic (SAR). He was president of the Orange Free State from 1860 to 1863. Pretorius helped lead the Boer struggle against British annexation of the SAR. In 1881 he signed an agreement with British representatives that affirmed British recognition of the independence of the SAR.