At this period a young man named Moshesh (born about 1790), who was of the family of Monaheng and already noted as hunter and warrior, gathered round him the remnants of several broken clans, out of which he welded the existing Basuto nation.
In 1833 Moshesh invited the missionaries of the Societe des Missions Evangeliques of Paris to settle in his country, and from that day until his death proved their firm friend.
A few years later, in 1836-1837, large parties of emigrant Boers settled north of the Orange, and before long disputes arose between them and Moshesh, who claimed a great part of the land on which the white farmers had settled.
In 1843 a treaty was signed with Moshesh on the lines of that already arranged with Waterboer, the Griqua chief (see Griqtaland), creating Basutoland a native state under British protection.
In 1849, however, Moshesh was unwillingly induced by Sir Harry to surrender his claims to part of the territory recognized as his by the Napier treaty.
Attempts were made to come to terms with Moshesh and the justice of many of his complaints was admitted.
The expedition was by no means a success, but Moshesh, with that peculiar statecraft for which he was famous, saw that he could not hope permanently to hold out against the British troops, and followed up his successful skirmishes with General Cathcart by writing him a letter, in which he said: "As the object for which you have come is to have a compensation for Boers, I beg you will be satisfied with what you have taken.
General Cathcart accepted the offer of Moshesh and peace was proclaimed, the Basuto power being unbroken.
Fourteen months later (February 1854) Great Britain renounced sovereignty over the farmers settled beyond the Orange, and Moshesh found himself face to face with the newly constituted Free State.
They also annexed a certain fertile portion of Basuto territory, and finally terminated the strife by a treaty at Thaba Bosigo, by which Moshesh gave up the tract of territory taken by the Boers and professed himself a subject of the Free State.
Seeing that the struggle against the Boers was hopeless, no fewer than 2000 Basuto warriors having been killed, Moshesh again appealed for protection to the British authorities, saying: "Let me and my people rest and live under the large folds of the flag of England before I am no more."
Moshesh, who for nearly fifty years had led his people so skilfully and well, died in 1870.
Native laws and customs were interfered with as little as possible and the authority of the chiefs - all members of the Moshesh family - was maintained.
Moshesh had been succeeded as paramount chief by his son, Letsie, and he in turn was succeeded in 1891 by Lerothodi (c. 1837-1905).
The town, named after the leader of the Boers in their war with the Basuto chief Moshesh in 1865, was founded in 1888.
Moshesh, a Bechuana chief of high descent, had welded together a number of scattered and broken clans which had sought refuge in that mountainous region, and had formed of them the Basuto nation.
Acting upon the advice of Dr John Philip, the superintendent of the London Missionary Society's stations in South Africa, a treaty was concluded in 1843 with Moshesh, placing him under British protection.
The year in which the treaty with Moshesh was made several large parties of Boers recrossed the Drakensberg into the country north of the Orange, refusing to remain in Natal when it became a British colony.
During their stay there they had inflicted a severe defeat on the Zulus under Dingaan (December 1838), an event which, following on the flight of Mosilikatze, greatly strengthened the position of Moshesh, whose power became a menace to that of the emigrant farmers.
It was after this episode that the treaties with Adam Kok and Moshesh were negotiatedl.
In October 1849 Moshesh was induced to sign a new arrangement considerably curtailing the boundaries of the Basuto reserve.
The British Resident had, however, no force sufficient to maintain his authority, and Moshesh and all the neighbouring clans became involved in hostilities with one another and with the whites.
In 1851 Moshesh joined the republican party in the Sovereignty in an invitation to Pretorius to recross the Vaal.
At the close of that year a settlement was at length concluded with Moshesh, which left, perhaps, that chief in a stronger position than he had hitherto been.
The first president was Mr Hoffman, but he was accused of being too complaisant towards Moshesh and resigned, being succeeded in 1855 by Mr J.
In the war the advantage rested with the Basutos; thereupon the Free State appealed to Sir George Grey, who induced Moshesh to come to terms. On the 15th of October 1858 a treaty was signed defining anew the boundary.
Moshesh continued to menace the Free State border.
Attempts at accommodation made by the governor of Cape Colony (Sir Philip Wodehouse) failed, and war between the Free State and Moshesh was renewed in 1865.
The Boers gained considerable successes, and this induced Moshesh to sue for peace.
Moshesh now turned in earnest to Sir Philip Wodehouse for preservation.
With one exception, that of Moshesh, the chief of the Basutos, none of the chiefs with whom treaties were made were men powerful enough to found kingdoms, nor had they, in most cases, any better right than their neighbours to the territory recognized as theirs by the British government.
Moshesh ruled over a region largely mountainous and over a people numerous and virile; Pondoland was somewhat remote and was densely inhabited by warlike Kaffirs; the two Griqua states were, however, missionary creations; they were thinly inhabited and occupied open plains easy of access - hence their ultimate collapse.
Its difficulties with the Basutos were at last composed, and Moshesh and his people were in 1868 definitely taken under British protection.