Sunday, 3 April 2016

How Oudtshoorn became Oudtshoorn

Oudtshoorn famous for its Ostriches is located in the Little Karroo almost 400km east of Cape Town. It was first inhabited by the San (Bushmen) who left numerous rock paintings in the Swartberg mountains.  The Swartberg is now a UNESCO natural world heritage site.

The first Europeans to find the Little Karoo was led by Ensign Shrijver who was guided there by a Griqua via an ancient elephant trail in 1689.
The first settlers arrived 100 years later on the farm Hartenbeesrivier.  The first permanent structure was a Dutch Reformed Church built in 1839 near the Grobbelars river on land donated by Cornelius Petrus Rademeyer.  The town was first known as Veldschoendorp, but was renamed Oudtshoorn  in 1847 by the magistrate of George in the memory  of Baron Pieter van Rheede van Oudtshoorn.  He was appointed as Govenor of the Cape Colony by the Dutch East India company, but died at sea in 1772 on his way to Cape town.

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