Moshoeshoe or Moshweshwe (both: mōshwāˈshwā) [key], c.1786–1870, Sotho king. A remarkable leader, he was a superior military tactician and was able to unite several small groups into the Sotho nation. By the mid-1820s he ruled approximately 25,000 citizens. He permitted Christian missions and sought British aid against Afrikaner pressure from the Orange Free State (see Free State). After the Afrikaners attacked (1865), he won protectorate status from Britain in 1868, maintaining the autonomy of the 125,000 Sotho. Moshoeshoe is considered the founding father of modern Lesotho.