Zoutpansberg

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Zoutpansberg is the north-eastern division of the Transvaal. This was the district to which Louis Trichard and Jan van Rensburg, the forerunners of the Great Trek, journeyed in 1835. In 1845 Hendrik Potgieter, a prominent leader of the Trek Boers, moved there. The Zoutpansberg Boers formed a semi-independent community, and in 1857 Stephanus Schoeman, their commandant-general, sided against Marthinus Pretorius and Paul Kruger when they invaded the Orange Free State. It was not until 1864 that Zoutpansberg was definitely incorporated in the South African Republic. Trichard and his companions had been shown gold workings by the natives, and it was in this district in 1867-70, and in the neighbouring region of Lydenburg, that gold mines were first worked by Europeans south of the Limpopo. The white settlers in Zoutpansberg had for many years a reputation for lawlessness, and were later regarded as typical "back velt Boers". Zoutpansberg contains a larger native population than any other region of the Transvaal.

It is highly mineralized, next to gold, copper, found near the Limpopo (where is the Messina mine) being the chief metal worked. The chief towns are Polokwane and Leydsdorp.


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