1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Aliwal North

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Aliwal North, a town of South Africa, on the south bank of the Orange River, 4300 ft. above the sea, and 282 m. by rail N.W. by N. of the port of East London. Pop. (1904) 5566, of whom 1758 were whites. The town, a trading and agricultural centre for the N.E. part of the Cape and the neighbouring regions of Basutoland and Orange Free State, presents a pleasing appearance. It contains many fine stone buildings. The streets are lined with trees, and water from the neighbouring sulphur springs flows along them in open channels. The river, here the boundary between the Cape province and Orange Free State, is crossed by a stone bridge 860 ft. long. The sulphur springs, 1 m. from the town, which yield over 500,000 gallons daily, are resorted to for the cure of rheumatism and skin diseases. By reason of its dry and bracing climate, Aliwal North is also a favourite residence of sufferers from chest complaints. In the neighbourhood are stone quarries. Aliwal North is the capital of a division of the province of the same name, with an area of 1330 sq. m. and a pop. (1904) of 14,857, of whom 40% are whites.

Aliwal North was so called to distinguish it from Aliwal South, now Mossel Bay, the seaport of the pastoral Grasveld district, on the west side of Mossel Bay. Both places were named in honour of Sir Harry Smith, governor of Cape Colony 1847–1852, Aliwal (see above) being the village in the Punjab where in 1846 he gained a great victory over the Sikhs. Crossing the Orange River at this spot in September 1848, Sir Harry noted that it was “a beautiful site for a town,” and in the May following the town was founded. In the early months of the Boer War of 1899–1902 Aliwal North was held by the Boers. It was reoccupied by the British in March 1900.