Jacobus Hercules De La Rey - Encyclopedia




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JACOBUS HERCULES DE LA REY (1847-), Boer soldier, was born in the Lichtenburg district, and in his youth and early manhood saw much service in savage warfare. In 1893 he entered the Volksraad of the South African Republic, and was an active supporter of the policy of General Joubert. At the outbreak of the war with Great Britain in 1899 De La Rey was made a general, and he was engaged in the western campaign against Lord Methuen and Lord Roberts. He won his first great success at Nitral's Nek on the 11th of July 1900, where he compelled the surrender of a strong English detachment. In the second or guerrilla stage of the war De La Rey became one of the most conspicuously successful of the Boer leaders. He was assistant to General Louis Botha and a member of the government, with charge of operations in the western Transvaal. The principal actions in which he was successful (see also Transvaal: History) were Nooitgedacht, Vlakfontein and the defeat and capture of Lord Methuen at Klerksdorp (March 7, 1902). The British general was severely wounded in the action, and De La Rey released him at once, being unable to afford him proper medical assistance. This humanity and courtesy marked De La Rey's conduct throughout the war, and even more than his military skill and daring earned for him the esteem of his enemies. After the conclusion of peace De La Rey, who had borne a prominent part in the negotiations, visited Europe with the other generals, with the intention of raising funds to enable the Boers to resettle their country. In December 1903 he went on a mission to India, and induced the whole of the Boer prisoners of war detained at Ahmednagar to accept the new order of things and to take the oath of allegiance. In February 1907 General De La Rey was returned unopposed as member for Ventersdorp in the legislative assembly of the first Transvaal parliament under self-government.

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