Known as the founder of the Basotho nation, Moshoeshoe was a wise king who often conducted daring cattle raids and was good in diplomacy, avoiding conflict through skilful negotiations. By the middle of the 1920’s, he ruled over about 25 000 people at his mountain fortress, Butha Buthe.
During the Lifaqane wars, Moshoeshoe and his people embarked on a challenging nine-day journey from Menkhoaneng to Thaba-Bosiu in 1824. Thaba-Bosiu (translated mountain at night), according to local popular belief, was a high mountain that elevated during the night and took the shape of a high fortress. This provided a defence for the people during various wars.
Though Thaba Bosiu was attacked several times during Moshoeshoe’s reign, it was never conquered. History says that it was at this mountain that Moshoeshoe displayed his leadership skills. His following expanded to other African peoples attracted by the protection he was able to provide.
By the late 1800s, Moshoeshoe had established Lesotho and became “Morena o Moholo oa Basotho” or the Great King or Chief of the Basotho.