Great Trek, noun phrase

Forms:
Also with small initials.
Origin:
English, AfrikaansShow more English great + trek noun; or perhaps partial translation of Afrikaans groot trek.
Usually the Great Trek:
1. In historical contexts. The voluntary exodus, from 1836, of Dutch-speaking families from the Cape Colony to the interior; trek noun sense 11; voortrek. Also attributive. See also Voortrekker sense 1.
[1877 J. Noble S. Afr. 73The Voor-trekkers...The Great Exodus.]
1882 J. Nixon Among Boers 91The ‘great trek’ was a great emigration, or movement of Boers from the Cape Colony to the unsettled regions north of the Orange River, which took place in 1833 and the following years.
1896 Purvis & Biggs S. Afr. 42Whatever else the Great Trek did, or was hoped to do, it proved the turning point in South African history: the parting of the Dutch and English ways, which have never since been fully reunited.
1897 J. Bryce Impressions of S. Afr. (1969) 294The emigrant Boers..left Cape Colony in the Great Trek of 1836.
1900 H. Butterworth Trav. Tales 70In 1836 began a general exodus of the Dutch out of Cape Town and the regions near the Cape Colony, under the name of the Great Trek.
1936 Cambridge Hist. of Brit. Empire VIII. 273Slave emancipation had an important influence on the Great Trek, but the actual loss of property in slaves was not the determining factor among the motives which produced the emigration.
1944 D. Reitz in J. Mockford Here Are S. Africans (Foreword) 7The strange exodus known as the Great Trek when thousands upon thousands of Dutch Boers, as they were called, abandoned their farms and, with their wives and children, their flocks and their herds, made for the unchartered wilds of the north in order to shake the dust of British governance from their feet.
1952 B. Davidson Report on Sn Afr. 156In 1938..the Broederbond developed a strong-arm branch in the shape of the Ossewa Brandwag..at the moment, appropriately enough, of the centennial celebrations of the Great Trek.
1965 C. Van Heyningen Orange Days 1The Great Trek had vastly extended the area of White settlement, but had left South Africa politically fragmented.
1973 E. Prov. Herald 28 May 13A typical wagon of the Great Trek period.
1983 F.E.O’B. Geldenhuys in Optima Vol.31 No.3, 151The settlers saw in their Great Trek a parallel with Israel’s exodus from Egypt on the way to the promised land.
1989 Reader’s Digest Illust. Hist. of S. Afr. 114The Great Trek was a landmark in an era of expansionism and bloodshed, of land seizure and labour coercion.
1990 R. Gool Cape Town Coolie 19I come from the Cape Town branch of Stellenbosch Van der Merwes who..had more than a hand in the beginnings of the Great Trek.
2. Transferred and figurative senses. Any long and arduous journey or exodus to another place, especially one undertaken by a large number of people; a difficult or noteworthy change of attitude, opinion, or belief; groot trek.
1892 The Jrnl 10 Sept. 2Many of the Transvaal farmers are thoroughly disgusted with the recent course of events in that republic, and..a great trek — composed of nearly a thousand families — is being quietly organised.
1950 H. Gibbs Twilight in S. Afr. 41During and after the war many thousands of Natives did their own Great Trek to the cities to find work and more money than they could find in the reserves.
1973 E. Prov. Herald 26 Mar. 1The Springboks’ ‘great trek’ is expected to take them from South Africa to Los Angeles via South America.
1975 E. Prov. Herald 6 Aug. 1The great trek to safety being made by a convoy of an estimated 1 500 vehicles might have been stopped along the way by armed guerillas.
1978 Sunday Times 20 Aug. 15The Afrikaners’ Great Trek to economic power has been accomplished. Will it be the turn of the black man next?
1986 M. Picardie in S. Gray Market Plays 92(Veldsman..takes a small drum and begins to beat softly to help induce a trance): It’ll be difficult...You’ve never done this sort of thing before. It’s a journey into a new country for you. A sort of trek, yes, even a Great Trek, but in another direction.
1991 Sunday Times 10 Nov. (Motoring) 5It’s almost December. The season of goodwill and getting ready for the modern version of the Great Trek down to the coast.
1993 W. Verwoerd in Leadership Vol.12 No.3, 18I can speak as an individual who’s had a little Great Trek from being a member of the Voortrekkers, a junior Broederbonder and of anything else you can think of in the Afrikaans set-up, to becoming an ANC comrade.
1994 P. Dickson in E. Prov. Herald 26 Aug. 10They arrive in their dozens every month from the bleak droughtlands of the Eastern Cape in a modern great trek of hope to seek jobs and a future for their children in the big city.
The voluntary exodus, from 1836, of Dutch-speaking families from the Cape Colony to the interior; treknoun11; voortrek. Also attributive.
Any long and arduous journey or exodus to another place, especially one undertaken by a large number of people; a difficult or noteworthy change of attitude, opinion, or belief; groot trek.
Derivatives:
Hence Great Trekker noun phrase (rare), Voortrekker sense 1.
1975 Sunday Times 23 Feb. 16We thank God for our country’s early pioneers — 1820 Settlers, Great Trekkers and many others.

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18771994

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