The History of Magaliesburg

 

 

 

MANKIND

 

The Magaliesberg probably has the most intriguing and longest session of history, as man would have experienced, than anywhere else on earth.  The reason for this is the discovery of the remains of the earliest species of primitive man know today, in and around the Sterkfontein Caves, some 20 minutes drive from Magaliesburg. 

 

The tribes of the descendants of the earliest proto- hominids had free reign in this tranquil valley, and fished the clear streams, and hunted the vast herds of animals that roamed the plains, with is tools made initially from stone and later forged from iron.  While his life may have been threatened by the odd wild animal, or early death from injury or disease, man lived in total harmony with nature, which flourished in abundance in the greater Magaliesburg Area over the past two million years of his development.

 

Then, in what is very recent history, in the mid 1800’s, the savage feet of the great tribes of the north swept through the valley, bringing grief and a temporary tension to the once quiet paradise.  The Tribes moved on, and peace returned, but not for long, as war broke out again, when Mzilikazi’s impis attacked (generally after sunset), capturing the women and enslaving the men and young, to be incorporated into his army as warriors.

 

In the brief moments of time, it was not long afterwards, in the late 1800’s, that the “white” tribes from the south arrived, they too seeking their piece of this paradise and with guns ablazing, they drove back the local tribes and hunted the herds of game daily, causing their numbers to dwindle rapidly.

 

Then on 1 October 1899, war between the two “White Tribes”, the British and the Boer republics of Transvaal and Orange Free State, was declared.  Within a year, blood and human lives were lost between these two warring parties, in the Magaliesberg valleys, at Kommando Nek, Nooitgedacht and in many of the deep gorges and high ridges along the mountain side.

 

And since the days when peace was declared the turn of the last century/ 1902, peace reigned once again in this garden of Eden, where for over the past several decades, man has lived in a peaceful co-existence with nature, farming the land and toiling with the historic truths of democracy.

 

Today, Magaliesburg has developed into a tranquil haven of tourist attractions, with a number and variety of hospitality venues, where every human being descendant of the earliest species of mankind, is welcome to come back “home” and rest a while.  To soak in the peaceful atmosphere and relax in our paradise, just once again.

 

 

THE GEOGRAPHY

 

At a time, several millions of years ago (almost half the age of the Earth itself), the inland plain and drainage wetland underwent massive geological upheaval and the area slit into two sections, and the ground tilted to the north, forming a line of two parallel mountain ranges which stretch for some 120 kilometers, from Pretoria, through Rustenburg to the Pilanesburg.  This was the birth of the Magaliesberg Mountain range, which forms a natural barrier between the lower lying bushveld to the north, and the cooler highveld to the South and is the “meeting point” of many a species.  The Sable’s southern most area of habitat was found in this area, while for the Springbok, they were not found to live any further North than this majestic range.

 

The Witwatersrand Gold reef, was formed over hundreds of thousands of years, with its most northern reaches being discovered just a few kilometers from the present day village of Magaliesburg, at Blaauwbank.  This is where the first strike of the Witwatersrand System, was made and in 1874, the Blaauwbank area was pegged out for formal gold mining activities.  Here, the first mining company near the current Johannesburg was formed, named as the “Nil Desperandum Co-operative Quartz Company”.  The importance of this mine, was to attract miners to the present day Johannesburg Area and along with it and the discovery of rich and payable veins of gold, creating the largest settlement of man in Sub Saharan Africa.

 

Today, you can view the early day beginnings of Gold Mining activity, at the “still operational” Blaauwbank Gold Mine and Museum, within minutes drive of the village of Magaliesburg.

 

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