Klerksdorp

Klerksdorp

Settlement
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Klerksdorp

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Description:
Klerksdorp is a city and administrative district located in the North West Province, South Africa.

History

The city was founded in 1837 when the Voortrekkers settled on the banks of the Schoonspruit ("Clear stream"), which flows through the town. Klerksdorp is one of the oldest European (white) settlements of the former province of Transvaal.

The most prominent of the first settlers was C.M. du Plooy who claimed a farm of about 160 kmĀ², called it Elandsheuwel ("Hill of the Eland"). He gave plots of land and communal grazing rights on this farm to other Voortrekkers in return for their labour in building a dam and an irrigation canal. This collection of smallholdings was later given the name of Klerksdorp in honour of the first landdrost (magistrate) of the area, Jacob de Clerq.

In August 1886 gold was discovered in the Klerksdorp district by M.G. Jansen van Vuuren as well as on the Witwatersrand, which lies about 160 km to the east. As a consequence, thousands of fortune-seekers descended on the small village, turning it into a town with 70 taverns and even a stock exchange of its own.

However, the nature of the gold reef demanded expensive and sophisticated equipment to mine and extract the gold, causing the majority of diggers to move away in the late 1890s and leading to a decline in the gold mining industry.

During the Second Boer War (1899-1902), heavy fighting occurred in the area, which also housed a large concentration camp. The most famous of the...
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