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The University lies in the picturesque Jonkershoek Valley in the heart of the Cape Winelands.

The recorded history of Stellenbosch dates back to 1679 when the name was given to a small island on the Eerste River by Simon van der Stel, then governor of the Cape. Stellenbosch was quickly identified as an area in which to settle, with great potential for agriculture. The surrounding areas proved rich in soil and correct climate for producing vegetables to sustain the ships passing by the Cape of Good Hope en route to the other Dutch colonies in the East. Add to this the thirst of the Dutch and other settlers that necessitated the making of wine and Stellenbosch soon saw its hills and valleys under vines, along with other crops. With the rich agricultural pickings, the early settlers soon established a bustling town.

Although Stellenbosch has seen rapid residential and commercial growth over the past few decades, the heart of the town still resonates with an historical atmosphere and cultural allure. The buildings reflect over three centuries of occupation, including Dutch, Georgian and Victorian architecture. A myriad of museums and places of interest are found along the oak-lined streets. And the crests of the dramatically rising mountains that encircle the town - namely the Stellenbosch, Jonkershoek and Simonsberg mountains - are always visible.

(Source: Source: Stellenbosch Wine Routes website: http://www.wineroute.co.za/story.asp)

The earliest roots of the Stellenbosch University can be traced back to the 17th century when a beginning was made with regular school instruction. In 1859 the Theological Seminary was founded, and in 1866 the The university Stellenbosch Gymnasium was founded. In 1881, the "Arts Department" of the Stellenbosch Gymnasium became the Stellenbosch College and was renamed Victoria College in Stellenbosch University is recognised as one of the 1887. In 1918, Victoria College made way for an independent university and Stellenbosch University opened its doors for some 500 students and 39 lecturers.

The University has since then grown into the internationally recognised institution of excellence it is today with more than 24 000 students, 800 lecturers and some 50 research and service bodies. It has one of the country's highest proportions of postgraduate students of which almost ten percent are international students. The University has ten faculties, of which eight - Agricultural Sciences, Arts and Social Sciences, Education, Engineering, Law, Science, Theology and the larger part of Economic and Management Sciences - are located on the main campus in Stellenbosch.

(Source: Stellenbosch University website http://www.sun.ac.za )