Winburg was the first town to be established in the Free State by the Voortrekkers. In 1835, in exchange for 42 head of cattle, Andries Hendrik Potgieter purchased rights from the local tribal chief to the area between the Vet and Vaal rivers. A town was necessary as a centre for the area and after some dispute a site was selected and named Winburg - meaning 'victory town' - because the owner had won a battle in persuading others to accept the site.
The town was founded in 1841 on the farm Waaifontein. It became the capital of the unofficial Boer state, but by the time it had become a municipality in 1872, Bloemfontein had taken over as the capital city.
Winburg is a classic example of a South African town from that period. There is the inevitable large, central square dominated by a Dutch Reformed Church with stores, hotels and office buildings forming the perimeter. Behind these are private homes.
The cemetery in Winburg is the oldest Voortrekker cemetery in South Africa.
There is a landscaped garden in memory of the Voortrekkers of the Groot Trek called 'The Garden of Rememberance'.
A monument to the memory of the Voortrekkers lies south of the town.
Today Winburg is a mixed farming town of cattle, sheep, horses, maize and wheat and an important railway link.
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