Nisha Rathode (Editor)

Marthinus Wessel Pretorius

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Preceded by  Office established
Parents  Andries Pretorius
Religion  Dutch Reformed
Succeeded by  Paul Kruger

Name  Marthinus Pretorius
Rank  Commandant-general
Role  Andries Pretorius' son
Resting place  Potchefstroom
Marthinus Wessel Pretorius httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommons99

Preceded by  The Viscount Wolseley As Governor of the Transvaal
Preceded by  Willem Cornelis Janse van Renseburg
Preceded by  Willem Cornelis Janse van Rensburg As Acting President
Preceded by  Jacobus Nicolaas Boshoff
Full Name  Marthinus Wessel Pretorius
Born  17 September 1819 Graaff Reinet, Cape Colony (1819-09-17)
Died  May 19, 1901, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Marthinus Wessel Pretorius (17 September 1819 – 19 May 1901) was the first president of the South African Republic, and also compiled the constitution of the Republic.


After the death of his father, the Voortrekker leader Andries Pretorius, in 1853, he was appointed as the Commandant-General of the ZAR (South African Republic) and moved from his farm Kalkheuwel, near Broederstroom, to the city of Potchefstroom. He was the last Head of State of Potchefstroom between 1853 and 1856.

Founding of the city of Pretoria

In an endeavor to establish a new town, he bought two farms named Elandspoort and Daspoort between 1854 and 1855, on which he founded the city of Pretoria in 1855.

Ds. van der Hoff originally named the first church congregation in this area Pretoria Philadelphia (Pretorius Friendship), in honor of Pretorius' father. Later, the town took on the shortened name of Pretoria.

Five years later the capital of the ZAR (Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek or South African Republic in English) was moved from Potchefstroom to Pretoria.

Multiple roles as Head of State

Pretorius served as the first president of the South African Republic from 1857 to 1860. However, in 1859, in an effort to create closer bonds of relationship with the Orange Free State, he simultaneously held the office of State President of the Orange Free State and that of president of the South African Republic. This however created tension in Transvaal and he resigned the presidency of the South African Republic in 1860. After serving in the presidency of the Orange Free State until 1863, Pretorius was reelected as president of the South African Republic in 1864 and served a second term until 1871. Pretorius served a third term as joint head of state (triumvirate) of the South African Republic between 1880 and 1883. He died in 1901 at Potchefstroom.


Marthinus Wessel Pretorius Wikipedia