A brand-new edition of the ultra-rare and historically invaluable autobiography of the President of the Boer South African Republic (“Transvaal”), Paul Kruger. Written shortly after the end of the cataclysmic war which saw his republic destroyed and more than 15 percent of its citizens killed in combat or in British concentration camps, this book provides a remarkable and unique insight into not only those events, but the life of its leading personality.
The work starts with a short biographical account of the author’s early years in the British-ruled Cape Colony, his participation in the Great Trek, and pioneer life in the interior. It then describes the founding of the Boer republics of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. Kruger details his own participation in many of the major events of those times, including his first military service in the 1860s. His military exploits including helping suppress a Boer mini-civil war and seemingly endless conflicts with the surrounding African tribes.
He then moves on to the major events of his career: the two wars with the British Empire. The first war, a short and sharp engagement fought from December 1880 to March 1880, and saw the British Empire suffer its first defeat since the time of the American Revolution. After this war, Kruger—who was one of the leaders of the uprising—was elected President, a post to which he was re-elected four times.
Finally, Kruger provides a detailed account of the events leading up to the Second Anglo-Boer War of 1889 to 1902, all from the Boer perspective. It is this account which provides the most valuable historical insight into a war which cast a shadow over the rest of South African history, and still persists to the present day.
This new edition contains the full text and original footnotes from the first German- and English-language editions, and a number of new footnotes explaining events, terms, and personalities to the present-day reader. It also contains a new epilogue which briefly describes Kruger’s life and death in exile. It also contains all eleven appendices from the original edition.
Publishers’ Note to the 1902 edition
Publishers’ Note to the 2021 edition
Chapter I—Early Days and Private Life
Chapter II—Commencement of Public Activity
Chapter III—In a Position of Command
Chapter IV—The Civil War: 1861–1864
Chapter V—Native Wars
Chapter VI—President Burgers
Chapter VII—The Interregnum under the British Flag
Chapter VIII—The War of Independence: 1880–1881
Chapter IX—Paul Kruger’s First Presidency: 1883–1888
Chapter X—Paul Kruger’s Second Presidency: 1888–1893
Chapter XI—Paul Kruger’s Third Presidency: 1893–1898
Chapter XII—Paul Kruger’s Fourth Presidency
Epilogue to the 2021 Edition
Appendix I—Kruger’s Educational Reforms
Appendix II—Speeches Delivered at the Solemn Inauguration of His Honor S. J. P. Kruger as State President of the South African Republic, on Thursday, 12 May 1898
Appendix III—Speech of State President Kruger in the First Volksraad on Monday, 1 May 1899
Appendix IV—Two Speeches of President Kruger at the Decisive Sitting of the First and Second Volksraad On 2 October 1899
Appendix V—Opening Speech of President Steyn at the Annual Session of the Volksraad of the Orange Free State at Kroonstad, 2 April 1900
Appendix VI—Opening Speech of President Kruger at the Ordinary Annual Session of the First and Second Volksraad of the South African Republic at the Joint Sitting of 7 May 1900
Appendix VII—Speech Delivered on the 7th of May by President Kruger in Explanation of His Opening Speech at the Ordinary Session of 1900
Appendix VIII—Circular Dispatch from State President Kruger to the Commandant General, Assistant Commandants General and officers
Appendix IX—Telegram from the State President to the Commandant General
Appendix X—Circular Dispatch from the State President to the Commandant General, Assistant Commandants General, and officers
Appendix XI—Proclamation by President Steyn against the Annexation of the Orange Free State
About the author: Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger (1825–1904) was the dominant figure in Boer and South African history of the nineteenth century. Born in the Cape Colony, Kruger took part in the Great Trek and played a prominent role in the settlement of the interior from the 1860s onward. In various roles, as field cornet, as commandant-general, as vice president, and finally as four-times elected president of the Boer South African Republic (“Transvaal”), Kruger led his people time and time again to victory against overwhelming odds, including numerous wars with African tribes, and the British Empire itself. Re-elected with ever-increasing majorities, Kruger became the embodiment and symbol of the Boer people. He was only finally ejected from office in the cataclysm now known as the Second Boer War. Exiled to Europe, Kruger died in 1904, just two years after the state which he had helped to found disappeared.