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The city of Springs, east of Johannesburg, is on the East Rand, or what is now known as the Metropolitan area of Ekurhuleni, in the Gauteng Province. It was founded as a coal and gold mining town in 1904, but its history can be traced back to the second half of the 19th century.
From about 1840 farmers moved into the area and declared farms for themselves, especially after the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (South African Republic, later Transvaal) became an independent republic with the signing of the Sand River Convention in 1852. These initial farms were large, but the measurements of the borders were inaccurate and later, when the correct borders of the farms had to be documented, there were several extra or odd pieces of land that did not belong to any farm. These odd pieces of land then became state property. Such an odd piece existed between three neighbouring farms on the Witwatersrand, namely Geduld (meaning 'patience'), De Rietfontein ('the reed fountain') and Brakpan (literally, 'small, brackish lake'). The 685 ha odd piece was given the name 'The Springs' by the land surveyor James Brooks, probably because of all the fountains on the land. Another story is that he wanted to name it after himself, but because his name (Brooks) resembled the Afrikaans word 'broek' (trousers) so closely, he feared that the Afrikaans farmers in the area would mock it.
On 16 September 1884 the official map of The Springs was registered in Pretoria, the Republic's capital. Initially, the land's value was equal to R200. But the discovery of coal and gold and its subsequent mining increased the value considerably.
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