The Great trek
The Voortrekkers comprised two groups from the eastern frontier region of the Cape Colony, semi-nomadic pastoralists known as Trekboers, and established farmers and artisans known as Grensboere, or Border Farmers. Together these groups were later called Voortrekkers Pioneers. While most settlers who lived in the western Cape later known as the Cape Dutch did not trek eastward, a small number did. The first colonists, who arrived in 1652 to set up a "depot for the provosion of ships"under the auspices of The Dutch East India Company, were of Dutch stock. Many later settlers of German origin and after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, French Huguenot refugees. By 1800, white colonists numbered rather less than 40,000, and were so connected by marriage that they represented a giant family rather than a new polyglot community. The community was also mastered by The Council of Seventeen in Amsterdam, who governed the far reaching empire of The Dutch East India Company. During the Napoleonic Wars the colony passed into the control of the United Kingdom. This was formally ratified in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna. Historians have identified various contributing factors to the migrations of an estimated 12,000 Voortrekkers to the future Natal, Orange Free State and Transvaal regions. The primary motivations included discontent with the British rule; its Anglicisation policies, restrictive laws on slavery and its eventual abolition, arrangements to compensate former slave owners, and the perceived indifference of British authorities to border conflicts along the Cape Colony's eastern frontier. Many contemporary sources argue that Ordinance 50 (1828), which guaranteed equal legal rights to all free persons of colour, and prohibitions on inhumane treatment of workers, spurred the Boer migrations. However, some scholars[who?] argue that most Trekboers did not own slaves, unlike the more affluent Cape Dutch who did not migrate from...
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