Great Trek


Great Trek
(1863–1867)
   Often dated to 1837, the Great Trek was an overland migration over a number of years of Dutch-speaking Afrikaners, or Boers as they were then called, away from the British-controlled Cape Colony and into the interior of what is now South Africa. Boers traveled through the Eastern Cape north and east toward what became the Orange Free State, into the Transvaal, and some south again into Natal. Although some areas were relatively depopulated as a result of the African intertribal warfare known as the Mfecane, the Boers clashed with several black African tribes, most notably the Zulu at the battle of Blood River in 1838.
   The Great Trek was motivated by a desire for land and pasture, but also by opposition to the anglicizing influences brought to the Cape by the British, and specifically to the abolition of slavery and tentative moves toward racial equality in the British Empire. The Great Trek led to the founding of militantly independent Boer republics in the interior, the predecessors of those - the Transvaal and the Orange Free State - that went to war with Britain in 1879 and again in 1899. The Great Trek and its myths of survival in the face of great odds and native hostility became a foundational event in the historical consciousness of the Afrikaners, the eventual capital of South Africa being named Pretoria in honor of Andries Pretorius, their leader at Blood River.
   See also <>; <>; <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Davenport, T.R.H. South Africa: A Modern History, Basingstoke: MacMillan, 1987;
    Etherington, Norman. The Great Treks: The Transformation of South Africa, 1815–1854. New York: Longman, 2001;
    Ransford, Oliver. The Great Trek. London: Murray, 1972.
   MARK F. PROUDMAN

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Great Trek — Trek Trek, n. [Written also {treck}.] [D. Cf. {Track}, n.] The act of trekking; a drawing or a traveling; a journey; a migration. [Chiefly South Africa] To the north a trek was projected, and some years later was nearly carried out, for the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Great Trek — This article is about the migration in southern Africa. For other uses, see Trek (disambiguation). Trekboers in the Karoo …   Wikipedia

  • Great Trek — Emigration of some 12,000–14,000 Boers (see Afrikaners) from Cape Colony (South Africa) between 1835 and the early 1840s, in rebellion against British policies and in search of fresh pasturelands. The trek, regarded by Afrikaners as the origin of …   Universalium

  • Great Trek — /greɪt ˈtrɛk/ (say grayt trek) noun South African History a mass migration of settlers of Dutch origin from the Cape of Good Hope to the north and east, about 1835–46 …   Australian English dictionary

  • Great Trek — the northward migration 1835 37 of large numbers of Boers, discontented with British rule in the Cape, to the areas where they eventually founded the Transvaal Republic and Orange Free State …   Useful english dictionary

  • Trek — Trek, n. [Written also {treck}.] [D. Cf. {Track}, n.] The act of trekking; a drawing or a traveling; a journey; a migration. [Chiefly South Africa] To the north a trek was projected, and some years later was nearly carried out, for the occupation …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Trek — The word trek has entered the English language as one of few words derived from Afrikaans. It means a long, hard journey, and is derived from the Middle Dutch trecken (meaning to pull or haul). Trek may also refer to:* The Great Trek, a migration …   Wikipedia

  • trek — /trɛk / (say trek) noun 1. an overland journey, especially a difficult one, as the Great Trek undertaken by migrating South Africans by ox wagon. 2. a physically challenging journey, undertaken for sport or recreation. 3. a journey of… …   Australian English dictionary

  • great — greatness, n. /grayt/, adj., greater, greatest, adv., n., pl. greats, (esp. collectively) great, interj. adj. 1. unusually or comparatively large in size or dimensions: A great fire destroyed nearly half the city …   Universalium

  • trek — see TRACK * * *    The word for a long and difficult journey derives from Afrikaans. It originally applied to the Voortrekkers, the Dutch settlers in South Africa who made long journeys by ox wagon during the Great Trek of the 1830s, when they… …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins


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