Moshweshewe 1786 -1870) was born at Menkhoaneng in the Northern part of present-day Lesotho. He was the first son of Mokhachane, a minor chief of the Bakoteli lineage- a branch of the Koena (crocodile) clan. In his early childhood, he helped his father gain power over some other smaller clans. At the age of 34 Moshoeshoe formed his own clan and became a chief. He and his followers settled at the Butha-Buthe Mountain. Moshoeshoe signed a treaty with the British Governor, Sir George Thomas Napier. Among the provisions of this treaty was the annexation of a tract of land (now called the Orange River Sovereignty) that many Boers had settled. The outraged Boers were suppressed in a brief skirmish in 1848, but remained bitter at both the British and the Sotho. The situation erupted in 1851. A British force was defeated by the Sotho army at Kolonyama, touching off an embarrassing war for the British. After repulsing another British attack in 1852, Moshoeshoe sent an appeal to the British commander that allowed him to save face. Once again, diplomacy saved the Sotho kingdom. After a final defeat of the Tloka in 1853, Moshoeshoe reigned supreme.



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