The British government thought otherwise; they held that the trekkers could not divest themselves of their allegiance to the Crown.
The Great Trek, as it is called, lasted from 1836 to 1840, the trekkers, who numbered about 7000, founding communities with a republican form of government beyond the Orange and Vaal rivers, and in Natal, where they had been preceded, however, by British emigrants.
These, then, were the direct causes of the voluntary expatriation of the majority of the first trekkers, who included some of the best families in the colony, but they fail to explain the profound hostility to Great Britain which thereafter animated many, but not all, of the emigrants, nor do they account for the easy abandonment of their homes by numbers of the trekkers.
It intensified in the minds of many Boers the feeling of hostility towards the British already existing; some of the trekkers in1836-1840had taken part in and others had passively aided the rebellion of 1815 - " the most insane attempt ever made by a set of men to wage war against their sovereign " (Cloete, op. cit.