Pretorius, Martinus Wessel

Pretorius, Martinus Wessel

(märtē`nəs vĕs`əl prātôr`ēəs), 1818?–1901, Boer (Afrikaner) statesman; son of Andries Pretorius. In 1857 he was elected the first president of the South African Republic (the 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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), and in 1859, while holding this position, he became the third president of the adjoining Orange Free State Republic (see Free StateFree State,
formerly Orange Free State, province (2011 pop. 2,745,590), 50,126 sq mi (129,825 sq km), E central South Africa. It was renamed Free State shortly after the 1994 post-apartheid constitution went into effect.
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). In 1863, after failing to effect a union of the two republics, he resigned the presidency of the Orange Free State in order to maintain his position in the Transvaal. As a result of public dissatisfaction at British encroachments Pretorius was forced (1871) from the presidency of the Transvaal. After Great Britain annexed the Transvaal in 1877, he served with Paul Kruger and Petrus Joubert in a government opposed to British rule.
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