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Cronje, Piet Arnoldus

CRONJE, PIET ARNOLDUS (c. 1840- ), Boer general, was born about 1840 in the Transvaal and in 1881 took part in the first Boer War in the rank of commandant. He commanded in the siege of the British garrison at Potchefstroom, though he was unable to force their surrender until after the conclusion of the general armistice. The Boer leader was at this time accused of withholding knowledge of this armistice from the garrison (see POTCHEFSTROOM). He held various official positions in the years 1881-1899, and commanded the Boer force which compelled the surrender of the Jameson raiders at Doornkop (Jan. 2, 1896). In the war of 1899 Cronje was general commanding in the western theatre of war, and began the siege of Kimberley. He opposed the advance of the British division under Lord Methuen, and fought, though without success, three general actions at Belmont, Graspan and Modder River. At Magersfontein, early in December 1899, he completely repulsed a general attack made upon his position, and thereby checked for two months the northward advance of the British column. In the campaign of February 1900, Cronje opposed Lord Roberts's army on the Magersfontein battleground, but he was unable to prevent the relief of Kimberley; retreating westward, he was surrounded near Paardeberg, and, after a most obstinate resistance, was forced to surrender with the remnant of his army (Feb. 27, 1900). As a prisoner of war Cronje was sent to St Helena, where he remained until released after the conclusion of peace (see TRANSVAAL: History).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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