The Voortrekkers
The Great Trek gains momentum
The Momentum Increases
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voortrekkersThe victories at Vegkop and Mosega had a galvanizing effect on the Boers wavering in the Cape. Soon, thousands (eventually 12,000) had packed their wagons and were trekking north.

The victories also had the effect of not only to populate vacant land but of forming their own state and subjugating any of the current inhabitants. The British community of the Cape understood the Voortrekkers' grievances and wished them well and a small number of British accompanied the Voortrekkers.

Erasmus Smit

voortrekkersTo the Voortrekkers' dismay however, the single mainstay of their lives, their religion, was threatened. The Dutch Reformed Church refused to sanction the trek and not a single minister accompanied it. Thus it was that such ceremonies as marriages devolved upon the trek leaders.

Near Blesberg, where there were now almost one thousand wagons, an American missionary provided some succor for Potgieter's party. Those of Maritz however preferred Maritz's brother in law Erasmus Smit, a flabby man of sixty with a very loud, hectoring, overbearing wife and a weakness for drink. His sole ambition was to be regarded as the main Trek minister even though he was unordained and had little training.

Next . . . The Voortrekkers wagon.