The mission of Zoar was established in 1816 by P. J. Joubert on the farm Elandsfontein for and on behalf of the South African Missionary Society.
It was named after a place mentioned in the Bible, 'Like the Garden of the Lord, as thou comest into Zoar'.
Joubert managed the mission till 1833, and thereafter the management was taken over by two missionaries from the Berlin Missionary Society. In 1843 Zoar was formally taken over by the Berlin Missionary Society. Zoar again changed hands in 1856 and was given back to the South African Missionary Society.
The town is notable for its irrigated gardens.
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