Pieter Mauritz Retief (1780 - 1838) MP

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Birthplace: Soetendal, Wagenmakersvallei, Wellington, Cape, South Africa
Death: Died in Natal, South Africa
Cause of death: Murdered by Zulu King Dingane
Occupation: Voortrekkerleier, Farmer, Pioneer, Boer General
Managed by: Lodewyk Christiaan Steyn, b1c3d12e4f1g4h4i7j5k1
Last Updated:

About Pieter Mauritz Retief

Voortrekker leader to Natal before OCT 1838, murdered by Zulu King Dingane.

Bron: Pretorius in Natal by B. J. LIEBENBERG

Added by Y. DROST

SAG 2008, volume 16, pg 234

Piet retief * "Soetendal", dist Wellington 12 11 1789, trek na oosgrens, veldkommadant dist. Albanie, woon "Mooimeisiesfontein", veeboer, met 6de grensoorlog word hy verkies as Provinsiale veldkommandant, 1837 verkies tot Goewreneur van die trekkers, gaan 1838 na Dingaan om oor grondgebied te onderhandel, sterf KwaMathiwane (Hlomo Amabutho) 06 02 1838 deur Dingaan vermoor.

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Piet Retief (1780-1838)

Born: Pieter Mauritz Retief, 12 November 1780, Soetendal, Wagenmakersvallei Died: 6 February 1838 (aged 57), Resting place uMgungundlovu, 28°25′37″S 31°16′12″E Residence: House Retief, Mooimeisjesfontein (1814-36), Post Retief (-1837)

Parents

  • Jacobus Retief (1754-1821)
  • Debora Joubert (1749-)

Family

Magdalena Johanna Greyling (née De Wet) (1782-1855)

Children

  • Debora Jacoba (1815-1901)
  • Jacobus Francois (1816-)
  • Magdalena Margaretha (1820-)
  • Pieter Cornelis (1823-38)

Pieter Mauritz Retief (12 November 1780 – 6 February 1838) was a South African Boer leader. Settling in 1814 in the frontier region of the Cape Colony, he assumed command of punitive expeditions in response to raiding parties from the adjacent Xhosa territory. He became a spokesperson for the frontier farmers who voiced their discontent, and wrote the Voortrekkers' declaration at their departure from the colony.

He was a leading figure during their Great Trek, and at one stage their elected governor. He proposed Natal as the final destination of their migration and selected a location for its future capital, later named Pietermaritzburg. Following the massacre of Retief and his delegation by Zulu king Dingane, the short-lived Boer republic Natalia suffered from ineffective government and succumbed to British annexation.

Retief was born to Jacobus and Debora Retief in the Wagenmakersvallei, Cape Colony, today the town of Wellington, South Africa. His family were Boers of French Huguenot ancestry: his great-grandfather was the 1689 Huguenot refugee François Retif, from Mer, Loir-et-Cher near Blois; the progenitor of the name in South Africa.[1] Retief grew up on the ancestral vineyard Welvanpas, where he worked until the age of 27.

After moving to the vicinity of Grahamstown, Retief, like other Boers, acquired wealth through livestock, but suffered repeated losses from Xhosa raids in the period. These prompted the 6th Cape Frontier War. (Retief had a history of financial trouble. On more than one occasion, he lost money and other possessions, mainly through gambling and land speculation. He is reported to have gone bankrupt at least twice, while at the colony and on the frontier.)[2] Such losses impelled many frontier farmers to become Voortrekkers (literally, "those who move forward") and to migrate to new lands in the north.

Retief wrote their manifesto, dated 22 January 1837, setting out their long-held grievances against the British government. They believed it had offered them no protection against raids by the native blacks, no redress, and by the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 freed their slaves. The compensation offered to owners hardly amounted to a quarter of the slaves' market value. Retief's manifesto was published in the Grahamstown Journal on 2 February and De Zuid-Afrikaan on 17 February, just as the emigrant Boers started to leave their homesteads.

Great Trek

Retief's household departed in two wagons from his farm in the Winterberg District in early February 1837 and joined a party of 30 other wagons. The pioneers crossed the Orange River into independent territory. When several parties on the Great Trek converged at the Vet River, Retief was elected "Governor of the United Laagers" and head of "The Free Province of New Holland in South East Africa." This coalition was very short-lived, and Retief became the lone leader of the group moving east.

On 5 October 1837 Retief established a camp of 54 wagons at Kerkenberg near the Drakensberg ridge. He proceeded on horseback the next day, accompanied by fourteen men with four wagons, to explore the region between the Drakensberg and Port Natal, now known as kwaZulu Natal. He returned a message to the camp on 2 November, announcing to laager that they may enter Natal.

Due to his favourable impression of the region, Retief started negotiations for land with the Zulu king Dingane kaSenzangakhona (known as Dingane) in November 1837. After Retief led his band over the Drakensberg Mountains, he convinced Voortrekker leaders Gerrit Maritz and Andries Hendrik Potgieter to join him in January 1838.

On Retief's second visit to Dingane, the Zulu agreed to Boer settlement in Natal, provided that the Boer delegation recover cattle stolen by the rival Tlokwa nation. This the Boers did, their reputation and rifles cowing the people into handing over some 7,000 head of cattle.[3]

Death

Despite warnings, Retief left the Tugela region on 28 January 1838, in the belief that he could negotiate with Dingane for permanent boundaries for the Natal settlement. The deed of cession of the Tugela-Umzimvubu region, although dated 4 February 1838, was signed by Dingane on 6 February 1838, with the two sides recording three witnesses each. Dingane invited Retief's party to witness a special performance by his soldiers, whereupon Dingane ordered his soldiers to capture Retief's party and their coloured servants.

Retief, his son, men, and servants, about 100 people in total, were taken to kwaMatiwane Hill, a site where Dingane had thousands of other enemies executed.[3] The Zulus killed the entire party by clubbing them and killed Retief last, so as to witness the deaths of his comrades. Their bodies were left on the hillside to be eaten by wild animals, as was Dingane's custom with his enemies. Dingane then directed the attack against the Voortrekker laagers,[3] which plunged the migrant movement into temporary disarray. 534 men, women and children were killed.

Following the decisive Voortrekker victory at Blood River, Andries Pretorius and his "victory commando" recovered the remains of the Retief party. They buried them on 21 December 1838.

Also recovered was the undamaged deed of cession from Retief's leather purse, as later verified by a member of the "victory commando", E.F. Potgieter. An exact copy survives, but the original deed disappeared in transit to the Netherlands during the Anglo-Boer War. The site of the Retief grave was more or less forgotten until pointed out in 1896 by J.H. Hattingh, a surviving member of Pretorius's commando. A monument recording the names of the members of Retief's delegation was erected near the grave in 1922.[4]

Legacy

The town of Piet Retief was named after him as was (partially) the city of Pietermaritzburg. (The "Maritz" part being named after Gerrit Maritz, another Voortrekker leader.)

References

  1. Bernard Lugan (January 1996). Ces français qui ont fait l'Afrique du sud (The French People Who Made South Africa). ISBN 2-84100-086-9.
  2. Giliomee, Hermann (2003). The Afrikaners: Biography of a people. Cape Town, South Africa; Charlottesville, Virginia: Tafelberg Publishers Limited and University of Virginia Press. pp. 136, 154. ISBN Special:BookSources/1850657149|1850657149 Category:Articles with invalid ISBNs.
  3. a b c Wood, William (1840). "An Eyewitness Account of the Massacre of Retief". Statements respecting Dingaan, king of the Zulus. Collard & Co. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  4. Stander, Eerw. P.P. Dingaanstat: Die Graf van Piet Retief en Sy Sewentig Burgers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piet_Retief, [last accessed 06/04/2013 Sharon Doubell]

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http://groottrek.co.za/leiers.htm#klimaatsomstandighede

http://www.encounter.co.za/article/61.html

http://www.sahistory.org.za/pages/people/bios/retief-p.htm

http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Piet_Retief

http://www.sahistory.org.za/pages/people/bios/retief-p.htm

http://groottrek.co.za/leiers.htm#klimaatsomstandighede

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Retief, Pieter, Voortrekkerleier. 1781: Gebore op die plaas Soetendal, distrik Wel-lington, op 13 Mei. 1807: Woon op die plaas Kromme Rhee, Stellen¬bosch. 1811: Koop sa am met Van Andringa die ou plaas Eisenburg; die vennootskap word later ontbind. 1812: Vertrek as kommandant met die burgerkom¬mando van Stellenbosch na die Oosgrens. 1814: Trou met Magdalena de Wet, weduwee van Johan C. Greyling, en vestig horn op Uitenhage. 1818: Gaan woon op Grahamstad. 1822: Word as veldkommandant van die distrik Albanie a:mgestel. 1822: Aanvaar kontrakte vir die bou van 'n ka¬serne en drosdy op Grahamstad. 1825: Vestig horn op sy plaas Mooimeisiesfontein, nadat die kontrakte misgeloop het. 1834: Hy gee boedel oor en word ontslaan as veld-korneL 1835: Neem as veldkommandant aan die Sesde Kafferoorlog deel. 1837: Publiseer op 22 Januarie sy Manifes in die Grahamstown Journal en De Zuid-Afrikaan. 1837: Vertrek vroeg in Februarie op die Groot Trek. 1837: Word op 17 April as "goewerneur" van die V oortrekkers gekies. 1837: Vertrek op 6 Oktober op sy eerste besoek aan Dingaan. 1838: Vertrek op 25 Januarie op die tweede eks¬pedisie na Dingaan. 1838: Hy word op 6 Februarie saam met sy man¬skappe deur Dingaan vermoor.

Afrikaanse Kinder Ensiklopedie Deel XI 1962

Sincerely,

Hans Peter Silbernagl

JUN 2011

-------------------- Names: Retief, Piet

Born: 12 November 1780, Wagenmakersvallei, (now Wellington), Cape Province

Died: 6 February 1838, kwaMatiwane, Natal

In summary: Voortrekker leader


Piet Retief was born on 12 November 1780 in the Wagenmakersvallei, known as Wellington today, and was the fifth of 10 children of Jacobus and Debora Retief. His ancestors were from Provence in France. His father was a farmer and Piet Retief lived with him until he was 27, after which he left the farm. He settled in Stellenbosch and tried his hand at a number of businesses such as working as a clerk in a store, prospecting for land, building and the liquor trade. His liquor license was not renewed because Colonel Thomas Willshire complained that his soldiers were always drunk because of Retief's alcohol license. Most of his businesses were never really successful. He was constantly involved in lawsuits and financial difficulties.

In 1814 Retief married a widow, Magdalene Johanna (Lenie) Greyling, and adopted three sons and two daughters. He was an educated man and because of his involvement in various commandos he gained good leadership qualities.

-------------------- Pieter Retief (usually referred to as Piet Retief), was born about 1780 in the Cape Colony, South Africa, and died 6 February 1838 in what is now Kwa-Zulu Natal. His family were Boers of French Huguenot ancestry, and Retief grew up on one of the vineyards established by French wine-making immigrants near Stellenbosch. After moving to the vicinity of Grahamstown Retief, like other Boers, acquired wealth through livestock but suffered repeated losses from Xhosa raids in the period leading up to the 6th Cape Frontier War. Such losses impelled many frontier farmers to become Voortrekkers (literally those who move forward) and to migrate to new lands in the north. Retief authored their 'manifesto', dated 22 January 1837, setting out their long-held grievances against the British government, which they felt had offered them no protection, no redress, and which had freed their slaves with recompense to the owners hardly amounting to a quarter of their value. This was published in the Grahamstown Journal on 2 February and De Zuid-Afrikaan on 17 February just as the emigrant Boers started to leave their homesteads. Retief's household departed in two wagons from his farm in the Winterberg District in early February of 1837 and joined a party of 30 other wagons. The pioneers crossed the Orange River into independent territory. When several parties on the Great Trek converged at the Vet River, Retief was elected "Governor of the United Laagers" and head of "The Free Province of New Holland in South East Africa." This coalition was very short-lived and Retief became the lone leader of the group moving east. On 5 October 1837 Retief established a camp near the Drakensberg ridge and proceeded on horseback the next day to explore the region between the Drakensberg and Port Natal, now known as Kwa-Zulu Natal. Upon receiving a positive impression of the region he started negotiations with the Zulu chief, Dingane, in November 1837. Retief led his own band over the Drakensberg Mountains and convinced Voortrekker leaders Maritz and Potgieter to join him in January 1838. On a second visit to Dingane, the Zulu agreed to Boer settlement in Natal, provided that the Boer delegation recovered cattle stolen from him by the rival Tlokwa tribe. This the Boers did, their reputation and rifles cowing the tribe into peacefully handing over the cattle. Despite warnings, Retief left the Tugela region on 28 January, 1838, in the belief that he could negotiate permanent boundaries for the Natal settlement with Dingane. The deed of cession of the Tugela-Umzimvubu region, although dated 4 February, 1838, was signed by Dingane on 6 February 1838. This Dingane did by imitating writing and with the two sides recording three witnesses each. Dingane then invited Retief's party to witness a special performance by his soldiers. However, upon a signal given by Dingane, the Zulus overwhelmed Retief's party of 70 and their coloured servants, taking all captive. Retief, his son, men, and servants, about a hundred people in total, were taken to Kwa Matiwane Hill at 31°32′S, 28°24′E and murdered. Their bodies were left on the hillside to be devoured by wild animals, as was Dingane's custom with his enemies. Dingane then gave orders for the Voortrekker laagers to be attacked, which plunged the migrant movement into serious disarray. Eventually, the Retief party's remains were recovered and buried on 21 December, 1838, by members of the "victory commando" led by Andries Pretorius, following the decisive Voortrekker victory at Blood River. Also recovered was the undamaged deed of cession from Retief's leather purse, as later verified by a member of the "victory commando", E.F. Potgieter. An exact copy survives, but the original deed disappeared in transit to the Netherlands during the Anglo-Boer War. The site of the Retief grave was more or less forgotten until pointed out in 1896 by J.H. Hattingh, a surviving member of Pretorius's commando. A monument recording the names of the members of Retief's delegation was erected near the grave in 1922. The town of Piet Retief was named after him as was (partially) the city of Pietermaritzburg. (The "Maritz" part being named after Gerrit Maritz, another Voortrekker leader.) The progenitor of the Retief name in Southern Africa was a French Huguenot refugee named François Retif, from Mer, Loir-et-Cher near Blois, France, who arrived in the Cape in 1689.[1] "Retif" was one of the many French names whose spelling was slightly altered as the Huguenots joined and married into the more-established Dutch-speaking community.

-------------------- This is the famous Voortrekker leader.

-=-=-=--=-=-

http://www.beeld.com/In-Diepte/Nuus/Die-ware-Piet-Retief-20121002

Die Voortrekkerleier Piet Retief is ’n held in die Afrikaner-geskiedenis, maar hy het ook ’n donker kant gehad, skryf JC van der Walt.

Toe Dingane Piet Retief so grusaam op 6 Februarie 1838 vermoor het, was hy ’n ongerehabiliteerde man. Nadat sy boedel in Januarie 1850 beredder is, het sy kre- diteure slegs 9% van die geld teruggekry wat Retief hulle geskuld het.

In 1813 het die regering ’n kontrak aan Retief vir die lewering van rantsoene aan 1 200 troepe op die oosgrens toegestaan. Retief het gou daarna versuim om sy leweransiers te betaal. In 1814 het hy aan die maat-skappy Matfeldt en De Necker die reuse-bedrag van 83 247 rijksdaalers geskuld. Dit was gelykstaande aan vyf keer die jaarlikse salaris van goew. Sir Andries Stockenström. Retief kon nie sy skuld betaal nie en die regering het sy kontrak gekanselleer.

Op 4 Julie 1814 het die brandarm Retief met Lenie Greyling, ’n skynbaar welaf weduwee, getrou. Retief het haar erfporsie van 5 000 rijksdaa-lers verkwis en Greyling is as ’n armlastige dood.

Lt.kol. Willshire het teen die lawaai en dronkenskap van die soldate by Retief se kroeg beswaar aangeteken en op 31 Augustus 1819 het die regering geweier om Retief se dranklisensie te hernu.

In 1822 word Retief as veldkommandant van Albany aangestel, maar hy word afgedank nadat hy met die regering oor twee boukontrakte in onguns gekom het.

Tussen 1823 en 1824 het Retief 20 keer in die hof verskyn weens skuld wat hy nie betaal nie. Retief sweer ’n eed voor God, in die teenwoordigheid van heemraad Miles Bowker: “Ek besit geen goedere van enige beskrywing hoegenaamd nie.”

Dit was ’n doelbewuste leuen, want in daardie stadium het Retief 1 000 skape, 300 beeste, 80 perde, 11 slawe, plaastoerusting, waens, meubels, gewere en ’n klavier besit.

Retief het by verskeie geleenthede valse verklarings afgelê.

Die eerste uitverkoping van Retief se goed is in Maart 1824 gehou.

Tempest, sy ingevoerde resiesperd, is vir 5 500 rijksdaalers verkoop. ’n Erf op Grahamstad plus sy perdewa, ossewaens, beeste, skape, perde en ’n klavier is verkoop. Retief se agt slawe het 12 050 rijksdaalers behaal en vyf erwe het 2 480 rijksdaalers behaal.

Die opbrengs van die vendusie in 1824 was 31 361 rijksdaalers. Ongelukkig het sy krediteure ’n verlies van 2 254 rijksdaalers gely. Hulle is nooit betaal nie.


Retief was nou in groot geldnood.

In 1826 het Retief 141 skape en 30 bokke op krediet gekoop by Maria, ’n slavin. Hy het ’n skuldbewys onderteken om die slavin 249 rijksdaalers te betaal. In 1827, nadat die slavin en Joseph van Dyk, haar eienaar, 18 maande lank probeer het om Retief te oorreed om sy skuld te betaal, meld hulle Retief se swak gedrag aan by die beskermer van slawe in Kaapstad. Retief het die slavin nooit betaal nie.

Tussen 1827 en 1829 het Retief meer as 20 keer in die hof verskyn weens onbetaalde skuld. Tussen 1830 en 1833 het Retief 19 keer in die hof verskyn weens die wanbetaling van sy skuldeisers. Retief is toe bankrot verklaar.

Op 4 Januarie 1832 het W.E. Smith Retief gedagvaar oor sy skuld vir 80 gelling Franse brandewyn en 18 gelling Franse wyn.

In Maart 1832 het J.H. Heath vir Retief gedagvaar vir die wanbetaling vir Franse brandewyn en wyn. Die vonnis kon egter nie uitgevoer word nie omdat Retief se besittings onder beslag was. Mev. Lenie Retief het aan die hofbode gesê: “Ek het geen geld in die huis nie.”

Kapt. Duncan Campbell, Albany se magistraat, verklaar Retief “nulla bona” op 18 April 1832 en Retief word tronkstraf opgelê. Retief ontduik die gereg, maar in Augustus 1832 word hy in Grahamstad vir die wanbetaling van verskeie skuldbewyse opgesluit. Hy weier om 58 gelling vir “ou Madeira-wyn” aan sy vriend, die vrymesselaar Benjamin Norden, te betaal. Norden het Retief verskeie kere vir skuld gedagvaar.

Uitendelik het Norden sy eis afgeskryf en Retief se skuldbriewe betaal. Daarna is Retief uit die gevangenis vrygelaat. Norden het slegs 9% van sy eis teen Retief se bankrot boedel teruggekry.

Op 28 September 1832 het T.H. Hales, die bode van die hof, al Retief se huishoudelike besittings in die Grahamstown Journal geadverteer.

Gedurende 1833 was Retief se finansiële posisie uiters desperaat. Hy het probeer om as toesighouer oor houtkappers in die regering se bos, Coeremoe, ’n karige bestaan te maak. Hy is egter nalatig en word op 8 Oktober 1833 deur magistraat Duncan Campbell ontslaan.

Retief was ook by verskeie oneerlike transaksies betrokke.

Op bedrieglike wyse het hy die afmetings van twee van sy erwe in Grahamstad vergroot. Nadat hy die erwe aan die regering verkoop het, word hy uitgevang. Kol. Henry Somerset het in 1820 die volgende aan landdros Jacob Cuyler geskryf: “Mnr. Pieter Retief het homself wangedra en dit was baie onwelvoeglik van hom om die regering te bedrieg.”

Retief het besluit om die regering met ’n skema te nader om sy eie huis in barakke vir soldate te omskep. Op 11 Maart 1822 het lt.kol. Maurice Scott geskryf: “Ek verstaan dat Retief se finansiële posisie uiters benard is. Hy beskik oor geen ander middel om homself uit hierdie vuur te kry as om die huidige aanbod van die regering te aanvaar nie.”

Op 7 Mei 1822 het die regering ’n kontrak van 40 000 rijksdaalers aan Retief toegeken vir die bou van die barakke. Op 6 Julie 1822 het die regering ’n verdere kontrak van 25 000 rijksdaalers met Retief vir die bou van ’n drosdy gesluit.

Retief het die regering met 10 000 rijksdaalers bedrieg deur dubbele fakure, vir werk gelewer, in te dien. Toe die regering die bedrog in Augustus ontdek het, het Retief reeds al die geld gespandeer.

Op 25 Maart 1823 het lt.kol. Scott geskryf: “Ek kan u verseker dat dit met groot spyt is dat ek, namens die regering, ’n kontrak aangegaan het met ’n man sonder enige beginsels hoegenaamd; dit was my ondervinding met Retief.”

Die regering het Retief vir 10 000 rijksdaalers gedagvaar en op 3 November 1823 het regters P.J. Truter en B.B. Borcherds Retief skuldig bevind. Retief se appèl is summier geweier. Die regering het besluit om Retief se kontrakte te kanselleer.

Retief het verskeie persone, ook weduwees, met geld bedrieg. Hy het byvoorbeeld sy slaaf, Jack van Mosambiek, aan verskeie krediteure vir geld verpand. Retief het sy krediteure 20 jaar lank ontwyk deur valse verklarings onder eed aan die bode van die hof af te lê. Sy familie het selfs die geregsbode met geweld uit sy huis verwyder.

Tydens ’n vergadering van sy krediteure op 26 Junie 1834 het George Jervis, die prokureur, gesê: “Hierdie boedel is reeds 15 jaar lank insolvent.”

Retief word op 8 Oktober 1836 bankrot verklaar en hy het besluit om by die Groot Trek aan te sluit.

John Mandy, die eienaar van die Freemason’s Tavern in Grahamstad, het Retief in Januarie 1837 vir 228 rijksdaalers gedagvaar “vir drank, losies en vermaaklikheid aangebied en verskaf op versoek deur Pieter Retief”.

Op 1 Februarie 1837 het Retief ’n brief aan sir Andries Stockenström geskryf en die regering verantwoordelik gehou “wat my welvaart ontneem het”. Op dieselfde dag het hy sy skuldverhoor in die hof ontwyk. Op 2 Februarie 1837 het Retief vanuit sy pos as veldkommandant gedros en sy beroemde manifes is op dieselfde dag in die Grahamstown Journal gepubliseer.

Stockenström het Retief op 6 Februarie 1837 ontslaan en presies een jaar later het Koning Dingane goew. Pieter Retief by uMgungundlovu vermoor.

- Dr. Van der Walt is die skrywer van Zululand True Stories, 1780 to 1978 waaruit hierdie artikel kom.



      
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Piet Retief, Voortrekker Leader's Timeline

1780
November 12, 1780
Wellington, Cape, South Africa
1814
July 4, 1814
Age 33
Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape, South Africa
1815
April 18, 1815
Age 34
Uitenhage, Eastern Cape, South Africa
1816
October 31, 1816
Age 35
Uitenhage, Eastern Cape, South Africa
1820
November 15, 1820
Age 40
Uitenhage, Kaapkolonie
1823
August 15, 1823
Age 42
Grahamstown, South Africa
1838
February 6, 1838
Age 57
Natal, South Africa
????
????
South Africa