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Encyclopedia > Piet Cronje

General Piet Arnoldus Cronje (1840?-4 February 1911) was a leader of the Zuid Afrika Republic's military forces during the Anglo-Boer wars.

Born in Transvaal, Cronje made his reputation in the First Boer War, beseiging the British garrison at Potchefstroom. He had a distinctive appearance, being short with a black beard and was reputed to have considerable personal courage.

He was in command of the force that rounded up Jameson at Dorinkop at the conclusion of the Jameson Raid on 2 January 1896. During the Second Boer War Cronje was general commanding in the western theatre of war. He began the sieges of Kimberley and Mafeking. At Mafeking, with a force varying between 2,000 and 6,000 he laid siege against 1,200 regular troops and militia under the command of Colonel Robert Baden-Powell. After his surrender with 4,000 of his commandos at Paardeberg on 27 February 1900, he was imprisoned as a prisoner of war in St. Helena Island where he remained until the conclusion of peace negotiations in 1902.



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