I. biographical name Louis 1862-1919 Boer general; 1st prime minister of Transvaal (1907) & of Union of South Africa (1910-19) II. biographical name Pieter Willem 1916- prime minister of Republic of South Africa (1978-89)
First prime minister (1910-19) of the Union of S. Africa. Botha was elected to the S. African Republic's parliament in 1897, where he sided with moderates against Pres. P. Kruger's hostile policy toward Uitlanders (non-Boer, mostly English, settlers). In the S. African War he commanded southern forces besieging Ladysmith and then tried unsuccessfully to defend the Transvaal. As prime minister he sought earnestly to appease the English-speaking population and was bitterly attacked by Afrikaner nationalists. In World War I he acceded to British requests to conquer German S.W. Africa (now Namibia).