History of Prince Albert
This region of the Karoo was populated by a clan of the Khoi-Khoi, the Attekwa, prior to any European settlers.
It was in 1761 that the VOC or Dutch East India Company loaned a farm to one Zacharias de Beer who trekked with his brother from Stellenbosch. The farm was then called Het Kweekvalleij which means cultivated valley. It was a fertile farm and orchards, wheat fields and vines were planted. Sheep and cattle were also farmed. Kweekvalleij soon became a popular stop over for travelers passing through the Karoo.
In 1842, which is the founding date of Prince Albert, the Dutch Reformed Church was established. At this time, the town was called Albertsburg in honour of Queen Victoria’s prince consort, Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
The town was officially named Prince Albert in 1845.
In 1843 the first four small holdings were registered and gold was discovered in the area in 1890 on the farm Kleinwaterval. This resulted in a mini gold rush but as only 1225 ounces of gold were mined,
this was very short lived.
It was around this time that the ostrich feather boom hit Europe, and Prince Albert and its surroundings played a significant roll in the supply of feathers.
In 1899 the Anglo-Boer war broke out and a British garrison was established in Prince Albert. Jan Smuts and Deneys Reitz both passed through the area. Commandant Gideon Scheepers was taken captive on the farm Kopjeskraal and later executed in Graaf-Rienet.
The weekly farmers market was established in 1855, and in 1857 a reading room was established, which then led to the opening of the library in 1862.
Our local newspaper The Friend/Die Vriend, celebrated its centenary in Oct 2012.
Prince Albert celebrated its 250th Birthday in 2012.