The New Student's Reference Work/Kruger, Stephanus Johannes Paulus
Kru′ger, Stephanus Johannes Paulus,
a Boer statesman and former president of the
S. J. P. KRUGER South African Republic, was born in Cape Colony in 1825. When a child he went with his parents and others on the famous trek or march across the country beyond the Vaal River, to form a new settlement beyond English jurisdiction. Kruger grew to manhood amid the scenes of the African frontier. He took part in all disturbances for years, at one time holding office under the British government until dismissed under charges, after which he became an agitator for independence. In 1883 he was elected president of the South African Republic, and was re-elected in 1888, 1893 and 1898. He was active meantime in efforts to obtain an outlet upon the coast. Kruger was illiterate, but possessed much native ability. He ably conducted the diplomatic negotiations which preceded the Boer War, and on Oct. 9, 1899, issued the ultimatum which led to the opening of hostilities. Under the leadership of Kruger and his generals the war was prosecuted with energy and aggressiveness, the English forces were defeated in several serious engagements, and not until Lord Roberts was sent with reinforcements which augmented the English army to 200,000 men were the Boers forced to give way in the unequal contest. After the loss of Bloemfontein, Johannesburg and Pretoria, President Kruger embarked for Holland, whence he appealed ineffectually to the European powers to intervene in behalf of the Boers. He died on July 14, 1904.