Thursday, March 24, 2011

Transvaal Gold Rush

Time: 1886
Place: Witwatersrand area, Transvaal, South Africa

Above in red is the Transvaal region. (cc) by 3.0 by Seb az86556

It was March; it was a Sunday, or so the legend says. An Australian miner named George Harrison was prospecting and suddenly found gold.

He did not know it but his find was one of the richest deposits in the world. Within 10 years, the Transvaal was producing 2.23 times the amount of all the rest of the world combined. It transformed southern Africa forever.

From all over the world, prospectors came. A new town named “Johannesburg” was founded. Within months, it held 100,000 people.

It transformed agriculture. Before, the region produced tobacco for export; otherwise subsistence farming was all. After, the influx of population and the new wealth encouraged a variety of surplus farming such as, maize, wheat, an fruit.

Sadly, it transformed the native white people’s attitude towards the rest of their world. These native whites were descended from Dutch colonists who had trekked into the interior. They called themselves “The Boers”. Their distrust and opposition to the newcomers turned into oppression. These internal tensions were accompanied by a Boer desire to use this wealth to make the Transvaal the center of an expanded Boer country in southern Africa.

These tensions led to the Boer War against Great Britain at the end of the century.

Epilog: George Harrison sold his stake for 10 pounds sterling, disappeared and was never heard from again.

More info: Wikipedia.

1 comment:

  1. Very informative article post. Really looking forward to read more. Will read on…

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