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Pretoria

From Academic Kids

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CentralPretoria.jpg
The central area of Pretoria.

Pretoria, located in the northern part of Gauteng Province, is one of South Africa's three capital cities, serving as the executive (administrative) capital (the others being Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital). An official committee on 2005-05-26 approved changing the name of Pretoria to Tshwane, which is already the name of the enclosing Metropolitan Municipality [1] (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/4584211.stm).

Contents

Geography and climate

Pretoria is situated in the transitional area between the Highveld and the Bushveld, approximately 50 km north of Johannesburg in the north-east of South Africa. It lies in a warm, well sheltered, fertile valley, surrounded by the hills of the Magaliesberg range, 1,370 m (4,495 ft) above sea level. The city's coordinates are approximately Template:Coor dm

Demographics

The city has a population of approximately 1.3 million, or two million if the whole of the Tshwane metropolitan area is included. The main languages spoken in Pretoria include Afrikaans, Tswana, English, and Ndebele.

History

Nguni-speaking settlers, who later became known as the Ndebele (derived from the Sotho word for 'refugees'), were probably the first people to recognise the suitability of the river valley which was to become the location of the future city of Pretoria for settlement. They named the river after one of their chiefs, Tshwane (from the Ndebele word for 'little ape'), which became translated in Afrikaans to 'Apies'.

During the difaqane in Natal, another band of refugees arrived in this area under the leadership of Mzilikazi. However, they were forced to abandon their villages in their flight from a regiment of Zulu raiders in 1832.

Pretoria itself was founded in 1855 by Marthinus Pretorius, a leader of the Voortrekkers, who named it after his father Andries Pretorius. The elder Pretorius had become a national hero of the Voortrekkers after his victory over the Zulus in the famous Battle of Blood River. It became the capital of the South African Republic (ZAR) soon afterwards.

The founding of Pretoria as the capital of the South African Republic can be seen as marking the end of the Boers' settlement movements of the Great Trek.

During the First Boer War, the city was besieged by Republican forces in December 1880 and March 1881. The peace treaty which ended the war was signed in Pretoria on 3 August 1881 at the Pretoria Convention.

The Second Boer War (1899 to 1902) resulted in the end of the South African Republic and start of British hegemony in South Africa. During the war, Winston Churchill was imprisoned in Pretoria but escaped to Mozambique. The city surrendered to British forces under Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts on 5 June 1900 and the conflict was ended in Pretoria with the signing of the Peace of Vereeninging on 11 May 1902.

The Boer Republics of the ZAR and the Orange Free State were united with the Cape Colony and Natal Colony in 1910 to become the Union of South Africa. Pretoria then became the administrative capital of the whole of South Africa, with Cape Town the legislative capital. Between 1860 and 1994, the city was also the capital of the province of Transvaal, superseding Potchefstroom in that role.

On 14 October 1931, Pretoria achieved official city status. When South Africa became a republic in 1961, Pretoria remained its administrative capital.

In 2000 Pretoria's municipal government became part of the larger City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality.

The city council voted on 8 March 2005 to rename Pretoria's entire metropolitan area Tshwane; however, the central area of the new Tshwane metropolitan area will continue to be called Pretoria, and Pretoria will remain one of the capitals of South Africa. The official name change was approved on 26 May 2005 by the South African Geographical Names Council. It will now need to be ratified by the central government before it can be implemented.

Cultural and academic

Pretoria is one of South Africa's leading academic cities, and it is home to both the largest residential university in the country (the University of Pretoria) as well as the largest distance education university (the University of South Africa, more commonly known by its initials, UNISA). The South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is also located in this city.

Economy

Pretoria is an important industrial centre, with heavy industries including iron and steel casting as well as automobile, railroad and machinery manufacture. It is the headquarters of the South African Iron and Steel Corporation, ISCOR, which produces most of South Africa's steel.

Places of interest

Interesting facts

  • Pretoria's main street, Church Street, is the longest urban street in South Africa.
  • Many of the city's streets are lined with Jacaranda trees that blossom mauve (purplish blue) in spring, giving rise to the city's nickname "Jacaranda City".
  • The Cullinan Diamond (the largest gem diamond ever found) was discovered near Pretoria at the Premier Mine on January 26, 1905.
  • Pretoria has the second largest number of embassies in the world after Washington, D.C..af:Pretoria

bg:Претория da:Pretoria de:Tshwane eo:Pretorio es:Pretoria fi:Pretoria fr:Pretoria he:פרטוריה io:Pretoria it:Pretoria lt:Pretorija nb:Pretoria nl:Pretoria nn:Pretoria no:Pretoria pl:Tshwane pt:Pretria ru:Претория sv:Pretoria

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