|Fig.1: "Wait, so we're not trying to get to Fort Laramie?"|
On second thought, maybe Oregon Trail is a lot more fun...
|Fig.2: "Wait, so we weren't trying to get to |
But everything got messed up when Napoleon started doing his thing (just ask the Portuguese). The Dutch Republic aligned itself with France starting in 1795, which of course made the British a little grumpy. In the ensuing wars, Britain took over the cape town of Cape Town in 1806, which was made permanent in the jolly get-together known as the Congress of Vienna in 1815. British rule of southern coast of Africa, now the cape colony of Cape Colony, was not a happy prospect to the Boers. English and Irish settlers were brought in and ebbed away at the Boers' economic and social dominance of the region. New laws were passed that threatened to alter the Boers' way of life. The abolition of slavery slowly filtered through the colony, which didn't affect the Boers too much since they were poor farmers that couldn't afford to have slaves anyway. What did freak them out was the idea that Africans could then be given equal rights as themselves! The horror! In the end, the Boers didn't want the Brits always telling them what to do and where to go and how they should treat people of other races like a holier-than-thou Mary Poppins!
|Fig.3: "Good thing I have SAAA!"|
The first families left in September 1835, led by the painfully-Dutch names of Louis Tregardt and Jarse van Rensburg. By the time 1840 rolled around, over 6,000 Boers, 20% of the Cape Colony's population, trekked inland to escape British rule. Often lost within historical nitpicking are the thousands of mixed African and Dutch people, known as the Griqua, who also made the trek towards their own settlements in the northeast. As expected, the journey was tough on the large families that traveled with their wagons and oxen and screaming kids that kept asking, "Are we there yet?" Disease also took its toll on the trekkers, with Tregardt and most of his family perishing from fever. Luckily, there were no Donner Party debacles recorded during the Great Trek, probably because everyone knows that folks of Dutch stock are too stringy and dry anyway.
|Fig.4: The lengths some people will go to just to avoid learning the rules to cricket.|
And their own thing was the creation of "Boer Republics" to the northeast of the British Cape Colony. The first was the Natalia Republic, established in 1839 after they filtered the water following the Battle of Blood River; unfortunately the British caught up to it, and did their British takeover thing by 1843. So the Boers moved further north and made more republics like the Orange Free State, named after the ruling House of Orange in the Netherlands as well as their favorite Netflix show. The most successful was the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (South African Republic), nicknamed Transvaal to get some more of that double-vowel action going on. The ZAR established a stable constitution, promoted relations with nations in and outside of Africa, and even held their own a couple times against the Brits! In addition to Boer Republics were the Griqua Republics, notably Griqualand West, Griqualand East, and Griqualand Northbynorthwest.
|Fig.5: This monument to the wagons that made the Great|
Trek possible also doubles as a concession stand!