Potchefstroom

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Potchefstroom is a large academic town with the Potchefstroom University, situated on the banks of the Mooi River (literally beautiful river), 120 km west-southwest of Johannesburg in the North West Province of South Africa.

The town, founded in 1838 and is the oldest european settlement in the Transvaal. It served as the first capital of the Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek (ZAR) (South African Republic in English) and was created by Afrikaans-speaking Boer settlers known as the Voortrekkers who were fleeing the oppression of British rule in the Cape Colony.

For a short time during the 1840s the towns of Potchefstroom and Winburg as well as their surrounding territories were joined in a political entity known as the Republic of Winburg-Potchefstroom. Voortrekker leader Andries Hendrik Potgieter was elected as head of the republic.

On the 16 December 1881, the first shots of the First Boer War were fired when the boers laid siege to the old fort. The siege ended amicably on 23 March 1882. The British built a concentration camp here during the Second Boer War to house Boer women and children.

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