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LYDENBURG, a town and district of the Transvaal, South Africa. The town is 60 m. by rail N.N.E. of Belfast on the Pretoria-Delagoa Bay railway. Pop. (1904) 1523. It is picturesquely situated on the Spekboom tributary of the Olifants river at an altitude of 4900 ft. Some 15 m. E. is the Mauchberg (8725 ft.), the highest point in the Transvaal. The town is the chief centre for the Lydenburg goldfields. Next to Lydenburg the most important settlement in these goldfields is Pilgrim's Rest, pop. (1904) 1188, 23 m. N.E. of Lydenburg. Lydenburg (the town of suffering) was founded in 1846 by Boers who two years previously had established themselves farther north at Ohrigstad, which they abandoned on account of the fever endemic there. Lydenburg at once became the capital of a district (of the same name) which then embraced all the eastern part of the Transvaal. In 1836 the Boers of Lydenburg separated from their brethren and proclaimed an independent republic, which was, however, incorporated with the South African Republic in 1860. The discovery of gold near the town was made in 1869, and in 1873 the first successful goldfield in the Transvaal was opened here. It was not until 1910, however, that Lydenburg was placed in railway communication with the rest of the country. The present district of Lydenburg consists of the north-east and central parts of the original district. In the Lulu Mountains, a spur of the Drakensberg, and some 40 m. N.W. of Lydenburg, was the stronghold of the Kaffir chief Sikukuni, whose conflict with the Boers in 1876 was one of the causes which led to the annexation of the Transvaal by Great Britain in 1877. (See TRANSVAAL: History.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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