Paul Kruger

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Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger (10 October 1825 – 14 July 1904), better known as Paul Kruger and affectionately known as Uncle Paul (Afrikaans: "Oom Paul") was State President of the South African Republic (Transvaal). He gained international renown as the face of Boer resistance against the British during the South African or Second Boer War (1899–1902).

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Youth

Paul Kruger was a descendant of German immigrants to South Africa. His ancestor, Jacobus Krüger, emigrated from Berlin to South Africa in 1713 to work as a mercenary for the Dutch East India Company (VOC).

According to tradition Kruger was born at Bulhoek, his grandfather's farm was approximately 15 km west of the town of Steynsburg and 100 km to the north of Cradock in the Eastern Cape Province, and grew up on the farm Vaalbank. He received only three months of formal education, his master being Tielman Roos, but he became knowledgeable from life on the veld. Paul Kruger became proficient in hunting and horse riding. He contributed to the development of guerrilla warfare during the First Boer War.[1] Kruger's father, Casper Kruger, joined the trek party of Hendrik Potgieter when the Great Trek started in 1835.

The trekkers crossed the Vaal River in 1838, and at first stayed in the area that is known today as Potchefstroom. Kruger's father later decided to settle in the district now known as Rustenburg. At the age of 16, Kruger was entitled to choose a farm for himself at the foot of the Magaliesberg, where he settled in 1841.

The following year he married Maria du Plessis, and they went together with Paul Kruger's father to live in the Eastern Transvaal. After the family had returned to Rustenburg, Kruger's wife and infant son died, most probably from fever. He then married his second wife Gezina du Plessis in 1847, with whom he remained until her death in 1901. The couple had seven daughters and nine sons, some dying in infancy.[2]

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