Paul Kruger

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Kruger, Paul

(Stephanas Johannes Paulus) (kro͞o`gər, Afrikaans stāfä`nəs yōhä`nəs pou`ləs krü`gər), 1825–1904, South African Transvaal statesman, known as Oom Paul. As a child he accompanied (1836) his family northward from the Cape Colony in the Great Trek that was eventually to cross the Vaal River and establish the Dutch-speaking republic of TransvaalTransvaal
, former province, NE South Africa. With the new constitution of 1994, it was divided into Eastern Transvaal (now Mpumalanga), Northern Transvaal (now Limpopo), Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Veereeniging (now Gauteng), and part of North West prov.
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 (1852). Kruger's life was closely tied to the development of the country; he was a pioneer, soldier, farmer, and politician. The Transvaal was annexed by Great Britain in 1877. Kruger at first cooperated with the British but shortly thereafter was dismissed because of his demands for retrocession. He was one of the triumvirate (with Piet Joubert and Martinius Pretorius) who negotiated the Pretoria agreement with the British (1881) granting the Boers (Afrikaners) independence. Kruger was elected president in 1883 and reelected in 1888, 1893, and 1898. His policy was one of continual resistance to the British, who came to be personified in South Africa by Cecil RhodesRhodes, Cecil John
, 1853–1902, British imperialist and business magnate. Business Career

The son of a Hertfordshire clergyman, he first went to South Africa in 1870, joining his oldest brother, Herbert, on a cotton plantation in Natal.
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. Colonization of Rhodesia N of the Transvaal and the increasing importance of gold mining merely brought much greater resistance on Kruger's part to Rhodes's dream of a unified South Africa. In the 1890s, Kruger adopted a stringent policy against the enfranchisement of the Uitlanders who were settling in the Transvaal. The Jameson Raid (see Jameson, Sir Leander StarrJameson, Sir Leander Starr,
1853–1917, British colonial administrator and statesman in South Africa. He went to Kimberley (1878) as a physician, became associated with Cecil Rhodes in his colonizing ventures, and was appointed (1891) administrator of Mashonaland. On Dec.
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) into the Transvaal (Dec., 1895), undertaken with Rhodes's knowledge, created an international crisis. The Kaiser congratulated Kruger (in the "Kruger telegram") for the successful repulsion of the British, with the implication that Germany had a right to interfere in the Transvaal. The message caused great indignation in England. Kruger fought in the early stages of the South African WarSouth African War
or Boer War,
1899–1902, war of the South African Republic (Transvaal) and the Orange Free State against Great Britain. Background
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, but in 1900 he went to Europe on a Dutch cruiser in a vain effort to enlist aid for his country. He died an exile in Switzerland.


See his memoirs (tr. 1902, repr. 1969); biography by M. Nathan (1941); studies by J. S. Marais (1962), D. M. Schreuder (1969), and C. T. Gordan (1970).