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George is a city with 203,253 inhabitants in South Africa’s Western Cape Province. The city is a popular holiday and conference centre and the administrative and commercial hub of the Garden Route.
The city is situated halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth on the Garden Route. It is situated on a 10 kilometre plateau between the Outeniqua Mountains to the north and the Indian Ocean to the south. The township of Pacaltsdorp lies to the south.
The Garden Route has a Mediterranean climate, with warm summers, and mild to chilly winters. It is one of the highest rainfall regions in South Africa. Most rain falls in the winter and spring months, brought by the humid sea winds from the Indian Ocean.
18th and 19th century
The town of George was established as a result of the growing demand for timber and the wood used in building, transport and furniture. In 1776 the Dutch East India Company established an outpost for the provision of timber; its location is thought to be near the western end of York Street. The Timber Post had its own Poshouer (manager), some 12 woodcutters, a blacksmith, wagon maker and 200 oxen plus families. After 1795 and the British occupation of the Cape, a caretaker of the forests in the area was appointed. After the second British occupation in 1806, it was decided that the Swellendam magistracy was too large, so that of George Town was carved out of it. In 1811 Van Kervel was appointed as Landrost (magistrate) and the town was proclaimed by the Earl of Caledon, governor of the Cape Colony on St George’s Day, 23 April 1811, and named after the reigning British monarch, King George III. George gained municipal status in 1837.