Moshoeshoe the Great

Moshoeshoe began as a leader of a small village and in around 1820 he led his villagers to Butha-Buthe (Place of Lying Down). From this mountain stronghold his people survived the first battles of the difaqane and in 1824 Moshoeshoe began his policy of assisting refugees who helped in his defence. Later in the same year he moved his people to Thaba-Bosiu (Mountain at Night), a mountain top that was even easier to defend.

From Thaba-Bosiu, Moshoeshoe played a patient game of placating the stronger local rulers and granting protection - as well as land and cattle - to refugees. These people were to form Basotholand, which, by the time of Moshoeshoe's death in 1870, had a population of more than 150,000.

The welcome Moshoeshoe gave to missionaries, and his ability to take their advice without being dominated by them, was another factor in Basotholand's emergence and survival. The first missionaries arrived in 1833 from the Paris Evangelical Missionary

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