South African Republic

The South African Republic (Dutch: Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek, or ZAR), often informally known as the Transvaal Republic, was an independent Boer-ruled country in Southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century. Not to be confused with the present-day Republic of South Africa, it occupied the area later known as the South African province of Transvaal. The ZAR was established in 1852, and was independent from 1856 to 1877, then again from the end of the First Boer War in 1881, in which the Boers regained their independence from the British Empire, until 1900.

In 1900 the ZAR was annexed by the United Kingdom during the Second Boer War although the official surrender of the territory only took place at the end of the war, on 31 May 1902. In 1910 it became the Transvaal Province of the Union of South Africa.

The first president of the South African Republic was Marthinus Wessel Pretorius, elected in 1857, son of the famous Voortrekker leader Andries Pretorius, who commanded the Boers to victory at the Battle of Blood River.

The capital was established at Pretoria (founded 1855), though for a brief period Potchefstroom served as the seat of government. The parliament, the Volksraad, had 24 members.

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