Witwatersrand Gold Rush

Witwatersrand Gold Rush

Witwatersrand Gold Rush

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The Witwatersrand Gold Rush was a gold rush in 1886 that led to the establishment of Johannesburg, South Africa. It was part of the Mineral Revolution.

There had always been rumours of a modern-day "El Dorado" in the folklore of the native tribes that roamed the plains of the South African highveld, and the gold miners that had come from all over the world to seek out their fortunes on the alluvial mine of Barberton and Pilgrim's Rest, in what is now known as the province of Mpumalanga.

But it was not until 1886 that the massive wealth of the Witwatersrand would be uncovered. Scientific studies have pointed to the fact that the "Golden Arc" which stretches from Johannesburg to Welkom was once a massive inland lake, and that silt and gold deposits from alluvial gold settled in the area to form the gold-rich deposits that South Africa is famous for.

Discovery

It is believed that it was a Sunday in March 1886 that an Australian gold miner, George Harrison, stumbled across a rocky outcrop of the main gold-bearing reef. He declared his claim with the then-government of the Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek (ZAR), and the area was pronounced open. His discovery is recorded in history with a monument where the original gold outcrop is believed to be located, and a park named in his honour. Ironically, Harrison is believed to have sold his claim for less than 10 Pounds before leaving the area, and he was never heard from again.

Founding of Johannesburg

It did not take...
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