History of Johannesburg

History Of Johannesburg

History of Johannesburg

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The history of Johannesburg extends back thousands of years to when it was inhabited by hunter-gatherer peoples. Johannesburg is a very large city in Gauteng Province, South Africa. The city was formally established in 1886 with the discovery of gold and the Witwatersrand reef. After the discovery, the population of the city exploded, and Johannesburg became the largest city in South Africa. Today, it is a centre for learning and entertainment for all of Africa.

Prehistoric Era

The Johannesburg area is settled by Bushmen (or San), hunter-gatherers and Stone Age people. Over time, waves of migrants into the area established an Iron Age culture, until the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand in 1886.

The Gold Rush

See Witwatersrand Gold Rush article.

Gold was discovered in the Johannesburg area in 1886, setting off a mass migration of people from all over the world into the settlement to find gold. The new settlement was named after two officials of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republijk (ZAR), Johannes Meyer and Johannes Rissik, who both worked in land surveying and mapping. It is widely believed that the two men combined their common first name to which they added 'burg', the archaic Afrikaans word for 'fortified city'.

Before, during, and after Apartheid

Johannesburg was initially controlled from Pretoria, the government capital of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republijk ZAR, or Transvaal Republic. The town was initially a small prospecting settlement to which people flocked...
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