Somerset East

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Somerset East

Somerset-Oos
Dutch Reformed Church Somerset East-007.jpg
Dutch Reformed Church, Charles Street, Somerset East
South Africa Eastern Cape location map.svg
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Somerset East
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Red pog.svg
Somerset East
Coordinates: 32°43′S25°35′E / 32.717°S 25.583°E / -32.717; 25.583 Coordinates: 32°43′S25°35′E / 32.717°S 25.583°E / -32.717; 25.583
Country South Africa
Province Eastern Cape
District Sarah Baartman
Municipality Blue Crane Route
Established1825 [1]
Area
[2]
  Total72.8 km2 (28.1 sq mi)
Elevation
750 m (2,460 ft)
Population
(2011) [2]
  Total18,825
  Density260/km2 (670/sq mi)
Racial makeup (2011)
[2]
   Black African 59.8%
   Coloured 32.2%
   Indian/Asian 0.4%
   White 7.2%
  Other0.5%
First languages (2011)
[2]
   Xhosa 51.8%
   Afrikaans 42.9%
   English 3.7%
  Other1.6%
Time zone UTC+2 (SAST)
Postal code (street)
5850
PO box
5850

Somerset East (Afrikaans : Somerset-Oos) is a town in the Blue Crane Route Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. It was founded by Lord Charles Somerset in 1825.

Blue Crane Route Local Municipality Local municipality in Eastern Cape, South Africa

Blue Crane Route Local Municipality is an administrative area in the Sarah Baartman District of the Eastern Cape in South Africa.

Eastern Cape Province of South Africa

The Eastern Cape is a province of South Africa. Its capital is Bhisho, but its two largest cities are Port Elizabeth and East London. It was formed in 1994 out of the Xhosa homelands or bantustans of Transkei and Ciskei, together with the eastern portion of the Cape Province. It is the landing place and home of the 1820 Settlers. The central and eastern part of the province is the traditional home of the Xhosa people.

South Africa Republic in the southernmost part of Africa

South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini (Swaziland); and it surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European (White), Asian (Indian), and multiracial (Coloured) ancestry.

Contents

The Blue Crane Route follows the national road R63 from Pearston, via Somerset East, to Cookhouse. Somerset East, at the foot of the Boschberg Mountains, is a small town that's known for its natural environment and for its provincial heritage sites and buildings.

Pearston Place in Eastern Cape, South Africa

Pearston is a small town in the eastern Karoo, in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. It lies between Graaff-Reinet and Somerset East at the foot of the Coetzeesberge, about 160 kilometres (100 mi) north of Port Elizabeth. It falls within the Blue Crane Route Local Municipality and has a population of approximately 4,500 people.

Cookhouse Place in Eastern Cape, South Africa

Cookhouse is a small village located in Eastern Cape province, South Africa, some 170 kilometres (110 mi) north of Port Elizabeth and 24 kilometres (15 mi) east of Somerset East, on the west bank of the Great Fish River.

Provincial heritage site (South Africa) heritage site in South Africa

Provincial heritage sites in South Africa are places that are of historic or cultural importance within the context of the province concerned and which are for this reason declared in terms of Section 27 of the National Heritage Resources Act (NHRA) or legislation of the applicable province. The designation was a new one that came into effect with the introduction of the Act on 1 April 2000 when all former national monuments declared by the former National Monuments Council and its predecessors became provincial heritage sites as provided for in Section 58 of the Act.

The forested, mountainous backdrop frames the town (which is within sight of 16 waterfalls). The wooded Boschberg Nature Reserve is in the area, and has a number of hiking trails - including a 15 km circular route to an overnight hut at the summit of the mountain. As the route's name suggest, Somerset East is a bird-watching destination - other outdoor adventures include trout fishing on five local dams, as well as rainbow and brown trout fishing in the Glen Avon Waterfall pools, malaria free safari and hunting operations. There is also a 9-hole golf course.

Rainbow trout species of trout

The rainbow trout is a trout and species of salmonid native to cold-water tributaries of the Pacific Ocean in Asia and North America. The steelhead is an anadromous (sea-run) form of the coastal rainbow trout(O. m. irideus) or Columbia River redband trout (O. m. gairdneri) that usually returns to fresh water to spawn after living two to three years in the ocean. Freshwater forms that have been introduced into the Great Lakes and migrate into tributaries to spawn are also called steelhead.

Brown trout species of brown trout

The brown trout is a European species of salmonid fish that has been widely introduced into suitable environments globally. It includes both purely freshwater populations, referred to as the riverine ecotype, Salmo trutta morpha fario, and a lacustrine ecotype, S. trutta morpha lacustris, also called the lake trout, as well as anadromous forms known as the sea trout, S. trutta morpha trutta. The latter migrates to the oceans for much of its life and returns to fresh water only to spawn. Sea trout in the Ireland and Britain have many regional names: sewin in Wales, finnock in Scotland, peal in the West Country, mort in North West England, and white trout in Ireland.

Notable buildings in the town include the Old Wesleyan Chapel, which now houses the Somerset East Museum, and the officers' mess, which now houses the largest collection of paintings by the South African artist Walter Battiss.

Annual events include the Biltong Festival, which was started in 1991, the Bruintjieshoogte Marathon, Bruintjieshoogte Cycle Tour (run between Pearston & Somerset East) and the Spring Rose & Flower show. Somerset East is known for producing roses.[ citation needed ]

History

The first settler in this area was Willem Prinsloo. He settled under the Boschberg, close to where the Museum is today. Prinsloo was the unofficial field cornet of the district where at least 20 other families had settled by 1774. They send a petition to Cape Town asking for the establishment of a Drostdy and a church in the area, which led to the establishment of Graaff-Reinet.

Cape Town Capital city of the Western Cape province and legislative capital of South Africa

Cape Town is the oldest city in South Africa, colloquially named the Mother City. It is the legislative capital of South Africa and primate city of the Western Cape province. It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality.

At some stage Prinsloo gave up parts of his farm and a farmer named Jakobus Cornelius Ismael Safanya Otto moved into the corner now known as Bestershoek. He was followed by the Trichardt and Bester families.

Lord Charles Somerset, taking up the ideas promulgated by Cradock and Caledon that there should be a settlement on the Eastern Frontier, initiated a plan for an experimental farm in the area. American botanist, dr. Mackrill, was given orders to find a suitable farm, and was told to look at three places, the Gamtoos Valley, the Swartkops Valley and Boschberg. He chose the latter.

The farm was established in 1815, for the purpose of improving stockbreeding in the Cape Colony and providing produce for the soldiers at the Frontier. It was named "Somerset Farm".

In 1825 the project was cancelled, a new Drostdy was declared, and the town of Somerset was established. The "East" was only added on 30 years later.

Educational institutions

Gill College is one of the oldest colleges in the Eastern Cape, founded in 1869, after a donation from Dr. William Gill.

Aeroville School is a secondary school for grades 8 to 12, on the edge of Somerset East. It is twinned with Golden Hillock School in Birmingham, UK.

Provincial Hospital

Somerset East has a medium-sized government-funded hospital, the Andries Vosloo Hospital.

Coat of arms

Somerset East established a municipality in 1884. By 1931, the town council had assumed a coat of arms. [3]

The shield was divided horizontally. The upper half depicted a bushbuck on a golden background. The lower half was divided vertically, depicting a swallow on a red background and a sunflower on a black background. The swallow was taken from the arms of Gill College and the sunflower from the badge of a local school. [4]

The crest was a phoenix issuing from a golden crown, the supporters were a goat and a ram, and the motto was Foy pour devoir.

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References

  1. "Chronological order of town establishment in South Africa based on Floyd (1960:20-26)" (PDF). pp. xlv–lii.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Sum of the Main Places Somerset East and KwaNojoli from Census 2011.
  3. http://www.ngw.nl/heraldrywiki/index.php?title=Category:UTC_South_African_town_arms
  4. 'J.P.' 'Onze gemeentewapens' in NUZA (August 1971).