|people have been attracted to the region because of the river running through it.
These people were from local tribes such as San, Nama and Koranna, and included white travelers such as the great explorer Robert Gordon, the missionary Christiaan Schröder, and renegades from the Cape.
Back then, the river was known as the Great River and Gariep, but was later changed to the Oranje (Orange) River after Robert Gordon decided to row to the middle of the river’s mouth and drink a toast to the DutchPrince of Oranje. The reverend Schröder built the first church at Olyfenhoutsdrift. With the onset of more settlers in the region, irrigation potential of the Orange was soon utilized and the first canals made their appearance ten years after a church was built.Again, the Reverend Schröder dug the first canal. Three years later the first water- driven mill was introduced to the region, further stimulating commercial activities. In this way, the Orange River, as the region’s only reliable of water source, gave even more life to the area. It stimulated early development of farmlands as itswater was now spread far wider than the confines of its banks.