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Engineering NatureWater, Development, and the Global Spread of American Environmental Expertise$
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Jessica B. Teisch

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834435

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807878019_teisch

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Home is not so Very Far Away

Home is not so Very Far Away

Civilizing the South African Frontier

(p.97) Chapter 4 Home is not so Very Far Away
Engineering Nature

Jessica B. Teisch

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter shows what American engineers were doing in South Africa in 1895. California engineers converged in South Africa at the end of the nineteenth century for several reasons. In the 1880s, new technical and scientific knowledge expanded hard rock mining activity around the world. A great gold rush began in 1886 along the high, dusty ridge of the Transvaal Republic, the Witwatersrand. It coincided with Judge Lorenzo Sawyer's injunction against hydraulic mining in California in 1884, which decreased opportunities for local engineers. Many Californians thus joined exploration companies that sent them abroad, some to South Africa. There, they worked for British businessmen, helping to develop the Rand's deep-level mines, Johannesburg's domestic water supplies, and irrigated agriculture in Rhodesia, Cape Colony, and the Transvaal.

Keywords:   American engineers, South Africa, California engineers, scientific knowledge, hard rock mining, gold rush

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