Although under strong British influence the country was nevertheless ruled by its own chiefs, among whom the best-known in the middle of the 19th century were Montsioa, chief of the Barolong, and Sechele, chief of the Bakwena and the friend of Livingstone.
This led to a protest (in 1870) from Montsioa, which he lodged with a landdrost at Potchefstroom in the Transvaal, threatening to submit the matter to the British high commissioner if any further attempt at taxation were made on the part of the Boers.
Burgers, the president of the Transvaal in 187 2, endeavoured to replace Montsioa as chief of the Barolong by Moshette, whom he declared to be the rightful ruler and paramount chief of that people.
The attacks of the Boers at length became so unbearable that Montsioa in 1874 made a request to the British authorities to be taken under their protection.
There was fighting between Montsioa and Moshette, while Massow, a Batlapin chief, invited the aid of the Boers against Mankoroane, who claimed to be paramount chief of the Batlapin.
In 1882 they set up the republic of Stellaland, with Vryburg as its capital, and forthwith proceeded to set up the republic of Goshen, farther north, in spite of the protests of Montsioa, and established a small town called Rooi Grond as capital.
They then summoned Montsioa to quit the territory.