National Geographic : 1896 Nov
THE National Geographic Magazine VOL. VII NOVEMBER, 1896 No. 11 THE WITWATERSRAND AND THE REVOLT OF THE UITLANDERS* By GEORGE F. BECKER, United States Geological Survey The South African Republic, or, as it is more often called, The Transvaal, lies in southeastern Africa, between the Limpopo or Crocodile river on the north and the Vaal river on the south. Portuguese and British possessions shut it off from the Indian ocean on the east, and the country to the north and west of the republic is also British. The Vaal river is tributary to the Orange, which flows into the Atlantic, while the Limpopo emp ties into the Indian ocean. The watershed between these rivers is the Witwatersrand, or white-water-range, which trends nearly east and west about south latitude 26°, and is therefore only 150 geographical miles from the tropic of Capricorn. The Transvaal may be roughly described as an elevated plateau, most of which lies between 4,000 and 6,000 feet above sea level. To the north of the Witwatersrand the general level is not much over 4,000 feet. Immediately to the south of this watershed, near Johannesburg, the elevation is about 6,000 feet. gradually diminishing toward the Vaal. The general aspect of the country reminds one of the Laramie plains, but the rainfall averages about 30 inches, and the climate is mild and equable. The soil is only moderately fertile, and 15 years ago the country was considered fit for nothing but pastoral occupation. The Witwatersrand, in the neighborhood of Johannesburg, consists of upturned edges of a thick mass of quartzites, shales, and conglomerates, known as the Lower Cape formation. These * Paper read before the National Geographic Society, October 16, 1896.