Christiaan de Wet
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (April 2010)|
|Christiaan Rudolph de Wet|
|State President of the Orange Free State
30 May 1902 – 31 May 1902
|Preceded by||Martinus Theunis Steyn|
|Succeeded by||Position abolished|
|Born||7 October 1854
Smithfield, Orange Free State
|Died||3 February 1922
Dewetsdorp, Orange Free State Province, Union of South Africa
|Spouse(s)||Cornelia Margaretha Krüger|
|Profession||Farmer, Boer General, Politician|
|Allegiance|| South African Republic (1880–1881)
Orange Free State (1899–1902)
|Years of service||1880–1881, 1899–1902, 1914|
|Commands||Natal and Transvaal Commandos|
|War||Second Boer War|
De Wet served in the first Anglo-Boer War of 1880–81 as a Field Cornet, taking part in the Battle of Majuba Mountain, in which the Boers achieved a victory over the British forces under Major General Sir George Pomeroy Colley. This eventually led to the end of the war and the reinstatement of the independence of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek, more commonly known as the Transvaal Republic.
He took part in the early battles of the Boer War of 1899 in Natal as a commandant, later serving as a general under Piet Cronjé in the west. His first successful action was the surprise attack on Sanna's Post near Bloemfontein, which was followed a little later by the victory of Reddersburg. He came to be regarded as the most formidable leader of the Boers in their guerrilla warfare. Sometimes severely handled by the British, sometimes escaping only by the narrowest of margins from the columns which attempted to surround him and falling upon and annihilating isolated British posts, De Wet continued his successful career to the end of the war, striking heavily where he could and evading every attempt to bring him to bay. His brother Piet Daniel De Wet, another successful Boer general, was captured by the British in July 1901 and subsequently served against Christiaan as a member of the National Scouts (Boers serving with the British forces).
De Wet took an active part in the peace negotiations of 1902, being one of the signatories. Briefly (30 to 31 May) he took on the role of Acting State President of the Orange Free State, when President Steyn had to leave the negotiations due to illness. De Wet was one of the signatories of the Treaty of Vereeniging. At the conclusion of the war he visited Europe with other Boer generals. While in England the generals unsuccessfully sought a modification of the peace terms concluded at Pretoria. De Wet wrote an account of his campaigns, an English version of which appeared in November 1902 under the title De Stryd tusschen Boer en Brit (Three Years War). In November 1907, he was elected a member of the first parliament of the Orange River Colony and was appointed minister of agriculture. In 1908-9 he was a delegate to the Closer Union Convention.
De Wet was one of the leaders of the Maritz Rebellion which broke out in 1914. He was defeated at Mushroom Valley by General Botha on 12 November 1914, taken prisoner by Colonel Brits on 1 December, and sentenced to a term of six years imprisonment, with a fine of £2000. He was released after one year's imprisonment, after giving a written promise to take no further part in politics.
De Wet progressively weakened and at length, on 3 February 1922, he died on his farm. General Smuts, who had become Prime Minister, cabled his widow: 'A prince and a great man has fallen today.' De Wet was given a state funeral in Bloemfontein and buried next to President Steyn and Emily Hobhouse at the foot of the memorial to the women and children who died in the concentration camps. On the hundredth anniversary of his birth, a bronze equestrian statue, by Coert Steynberg, was unveiled at the Raadzaal in Bloemfontein
- Kestell, J.D. Christiaan de Wet – 'n lewensbeskrywing. De Nationale Pers Beperkt. Cape Town 1920.
- Olivier, B. Krygsman Christiaan de Wet – 'n lewensskets van genl. C.R. de Wet. Tafelberg. Johannesburg 1971.
- Pienaar, A.J. Christiaan Roedolf de Wet in die Anglo-Boereoorlog. Unpublished M.A.-thesis, PU for CHE. 1974.
- Rosenthal, E. General De Wet – A Biography. Simondium. Cape Town 1968. (General De Wet on Internet Archive)
- Scholtz, Leopold. Generaal Christiaan de Wet as veldheer. Protea. Pretoria 2003.
- Van Schoor, M.C.E. Christiaan Rudolph de Wet – Krygsman en volksman. Protea. Pretoria 2007.
- De Wet, Der Kampf zwischen Bur und Brite – Der dreijährige Krieg, (Leipzig, 1902)
- De Wet, Three Years' War. (Charles Scribner's Sons N.Y., 1902) [Translated from German] (digital copy at Project Gutenberg)
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- P. J. Sampson, Capture of De Wet and the South African Rebellion of 1914. (London, 1915)
- Rosenthal, Eric. General de Wet.
- One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "De Wet, Christian". Encyclopædia Britannica 8 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 138.
- Rudyard Kipling – The Bard of British Imperialism at www.zeitcom.com
- "Art, architecture, and nature — Park Hoge Veluwe". www.hogeveluwe.nl. Retrieved 2015-08-25.
- Thomas Pakenham, page 542 The Boer War, ISBN 0-7474-0976-5
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Christiaan de Wet.|
- Works by Christiaan Rudolf De Wet at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about Christiaan de Wet at Internet Archive
- CR de Wet at the War Museum of the Boer Republics.