MIDDELBURG, TRANSVAAL, a town of the Transvaal, 98 m. E. by rail of Pretoria, and 251 m. W. of Lourenco Marques. Pop. (1904), 5085 of whom 2343 were whites. It is prettily situated on the high veld, 5090 ft. above the sea, on one of the head streams of the Olifants River. Middelburg is the chief town of an administrative division of the same name, and is a trading centre for a large district. It is also the centre of one of the richest coalfields in South Africa. From some of the adjacent collieries excellent steam coal is obtained. Copper and cobalt are found in the neighbourhood.
Middelburg was chosen in 1901 as the place of conference for peace negotiations between the British and the Boers. After the occupation of Pretoria in June 1900 by Lord Roberts the Boer forces had been reduced to guerilla warfare, and Lord Kitchener, learning that the Transvaal commandants were despondent, invited General Botha to enter into negotiations, on the basis of the recognition of British sovereignty. The conference between Lord Kitchener and General Botha was opened on the 28th of February and the negotiations, which ended in failure, were protracted until the 16th of March (see TRANSVAAL: History, The War of i8gg-igo2).
Middelburg is also the name of a town in the Cape Province, South Africa, 250 m. N. by W. of Port Elizabeth. Pop. (1904), 6137.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)