Sunday, August 15, 2010

Winburg (E 11)

Name: Winburg

Source: Wikipedia

It is the oldest proclaimed town (1837) in the Orange Free State, South Africa and thus along with Griquatown, one of the oldest settlements in South Africa located north of the Orange River.

Winburg is situated midway between the Orange River and the Vaal River, adjacent to the N1 National Road, which links Cape Town to Johannesburg. The nearest city, Bloemfontein, is 120 km away.

When the Voortrekkers reached the area of Winburg, there were no other tribes or inhabitants. The nearest community was that of a Tswana tribe under Chief Makwana at Thaba Nchu, 60 km south east of the town and the Basotho tribes in the mountains of the current Lesotho, 100 km east of the town.[citation needed]

The trade of cattle for land between the Vaal and Vet Rivers, undertaken by Andries Pretorius and the Bataung Chief Makwana in 1836, led to the settlement of a dispute between the African tribes. The Voortrekkers offered protection for Chief Makwana from the Tswana tribes, against the Basotho tribes habouring in the mountains of the current Lesotho and stealing the cattle of the Bataung tribe. In exchange for continued protection, the Voortrekkers were offered the land between the Vet and Vaal Rivers.[citation needed]

The Voortrekker leaders had a small disagreement as to where to establish a town. A vote was held under the Burgers and Andries Pretorius's group won and elected to establish the town in its current position and to call it Winburg, after the Dutch word winnen (to win).[citation needed]

Winburg acted as a settlement and religious centre for Voortrekkers. Winburg was originally selected as the site for the main Voortrekker Monument, but Pretoria won favour and a five-tiered secondary Voortrekker monument was built on the outskirts of Winburg instead in the 1950s. It carries the names of the Voortrekker leaders: Piet Uys, Andries Hendrik Potgieter, Andries Pretorius, Piet Retief and Gerhard Maritz. The lengths of the five tiers are proportional to the distances traveled by the respective settler groups. On 16 December, the day on which the descendants of the Boer settlers celebrate the Battle of Blood River, the sun passes directly over the monument and a plaque with a Christian religious message at the base is illuminated. The monument is built near the site of the birth-house of Martinus Theunis Steyn, who was president of the Boer Republic of the Orange Free State.[1]

[edit] Boer War
The town was the site of a concentration camp for women and children captured by the British Army during their scorched earth campaign during the Second Boer War. 355 children and 132 adults died in this camp[2] due to malnutrition and contagious diseases, while kept in tents without any infrastructure or protection during the bitter cold winters of 1899 - 1901.

The famous Boer General Koos de la Rey was born in the district of Winburg on the farm Doornfontein.[3] General De La Rey was the leading Boer General of the Western Transvaal in 1899 - 1901.

Winburg had a black armed commando supporting the British soldiers during the war of 1899 - 1901

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