- King William's Town
King William's Town, a town of
South Africa, in the Eastern Capeprovince and on the Buffalo River, 50 kilometers (42 miles) by rail or about 40 minutes' motorway drive WNW of the Indian Oceanport of East London. The 1911 Encyclopedia Britannicareported that in 1904, the town had a population of "9506, of whom 5987 were whites." At that time, it was the headquarters of the Cape Mounted Police.
"King," as the town is locally called, stands 389 m above the sea at the foot of the
Amatola Mountains, and in the midst of a thickly populated agricultural district. The town is well laid out and most of the public buildings and merchants' stores are built of stone. There are manufactoriesof sweets and jams, candles, soap, matches and leather, and a large trade in wool, hides and grains is done with East London.
Founding and refounding
It was also an important entrepot for trade with the natives throughout
Kaffraria, with which there is direct railway communication. Founded by Sir Benjamin d'Urbanin May 1835 during the Xhosa War of that year, the town is named after William IV. It was abandoned in December 1836, but was reoccupied in 1846 and was the capital of British Kaffrariafrom its creation in 1847 to its incorporation in 1865 with the Cape Colony. Many of the colonists in the neighboring districts are descendants of members of the German legiondisbanded after the Crimean Warand provided with homes in Cape Colony; hence such names as Berlin, Braunschweig, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Potsdamand Stutterheimgiven to settlements in this part of the country.
Originally declared provincial capital of the surrounding Adelaide District in the 1830s, the area's economy depended on cattle and sheep ranching, and the town itself has a large industrial base producing textiles, soap, candles, sweets, cartons and clothing. Its proximity to the new provincial capital city of
Bhishohas brought much other development to the area since the fall of apartheidin 1994.
The provincial government recently announced that they plan to rename the town with a traditional African name, as it currently bears colonial connotations.
Steve Biko, anti-apartheid Black Consciousness Movementleader was born here
Charles Patrick John Coghlan, first premier of Rhodesiawas born here
Huberta, the hippopotamus
Coghlan, Eastern Cape
* [http://www.buffalocity.gov.za/visitors/history_kwt.stm History of King William's Town]
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