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Potchefstroom

POTCHEFSTROOM, a town of the Transvaal, 88 m. S.W. of Johannesburg and 222 m. N.E. of Kimberley by rail. Pop. (1904), 9348, of whom 6014 were whites. The town stands 4100 ft. above the sea on the banks of the Mooi River, 15 m.

above its junction with the Vaal. The streets are lined with fine willow trees, and there are public grounds in which are nurseries and a showyard. Golf links add to the attractions of the place, which is one of the healthiest in the Transvaal. In the neighbourhood are gold-mines; the reef appearing to be a continuation of the VVitwatersrand reefs. The Vaal river goldfields, of which Venterskroon is the centre, are 16 to 20 m. south-east of Potchefstroom.

Potchefstroom was founded in November 1838 by Hendrik Potgieter, and is the oldest town in and first capital of the Transvaal. In 1862 it was the scene of civil war between rival Boer factions. In 1880-81 the garrison camped outside the town was besieged by Boers under Commandant P. A. Oonje. The British troops (250 in number) were confined to a fort 25 yds. square and lost over a third of their strength in killed and wounded before they surrendered on the 21st of March, the investment having begun on the 18th of December 1880. Charges of treachery were brought against Cronje for failing to notify the besieged that an armistice had been agreed to by the Boer leaders. Of this armistice Colonel R. W. C. Winsloe, who was in command of the British, became aware before the surrender took place. On the suggestion of Commandant General Joubert the capitulation was considered as cancelled and a detachment of British troops reoccupied the town until the conclusion of peace. In the Anglo-Boer War of 1890-1902 Potehefstroom was occupied by the British without opposition. (See TRANSVAAL: History.)

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

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