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Johannesburg (jōhănˈĭsbörgˌ, yōhäˈnəsbörkhˌ), city, now part and seat of City of Johannesburg metropolitan municipality, Gauteng prov., NE South Africa, on the southern slopes of the Witwatersrand at an altitude of 5,750 ft (1,753 m). The capital of Gauteng, Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa, the center of its important gold-mining industry, its manufacturing and commercial center, and the hub of its transportation network. Gold mining is the sprawling city's chief industry. Manufactures include cut diamonds, industrial chemicals, plastics, cement, electrical, electronic, and mining equipment, paper and paper products, glass, food products, and beer. South Africa's main stock exchange (founded 1887) is in the city.
Johannesburg was founded as a mining settlement in 1886, when gold was found on the Witwatersrand; by 1900 the city had a population of c.100,000. In accordance with apartheid law, racial groups were once restricted to separate residential areas; most blacks still live in Soweto. Formerly a group of townships southwest of the city, Soweto became an independent city in 1983; it is also now in the City of Johannesburg metropolitan municipality.
The Univ. of Johannesburg and the Univ. of the Witwatersrand as well as other institutions of higher education are in Johannesburg, and the city is the seat of South Africa's Constitutional Court and the African Union's Pan-African Parliament. The city is also home to several museums, an art gallery, a planetarium, a zoo, a bird sanctuary, and numerous parks. Jan Smuts House is in the city.
the largest city in the Republic of South Africa, in Transvaal Province. Population, 1, 364, 500 (1968), including 773, 400 Africans, 76, 300 Coloureds, 476, 700 persons of European origin, and 38, 100 persons of Asian origin.
Johannesburg arose in 1886 in the center of the extremely rich Witwatersrand goldfields. It was seized by British troops during the Boer War of 1899–1902 and was incorporated into the Union of South Africa in 1910, along with the entire Transvaal. The largest demonstrations of the proletariat and other progressive forces against exploitation, racism, and reaction in all southern Africa have taken place in Johannesburg. There have been many big strikes in Johannesburg and in the surrounding region, including those of 1914, 1918, 1920, 1922, 1946, and 1961. The Congress of Peoples, held in Johannesburg in 1955, adopted the Charter of Freedom, which has become the program of action of all the progressive forces of the Republic of South Africa.
I. A. NIKITINA
Johannesburg is the biggest commercial and industrial center of the Republic of South Africa. Numerous enterprises of the mining, metalworking, machine-building, chemical, printing, textile, leather, and food industries are concentrated in the Johannesburg region. The headquarters of the major mining and financial concerns that control the extraction of gold and other minerals in the Republic of South Africa are located in the city. Johannesburg is a major railroad center.
Under the rule of the racist government of the Republic, the African population is forced to live in settlements lacking running water and electricity and located on the outskirts of the city. The non-Europeans, who constitute the majority of the labor force in all enterprises, are cruelly exploited and used only in low-paid jobs. Discriminatory laws deprive them of elementary political and civil rights.
Johannesburg has a university and an astronomical observatory.
A. S. POKROVSKII
Johannesburg is divided by railroads into two parts. The northern part contains the administrative and European quarters, the southern part the industrial and workers’ quarters. The center of the administrative part of the city is the site of a neoclassic city hall building (built in 1915), a Masonic lodge, a cathedral (built in 1926), a public library (an example of modern architecture), a theater (built in 1962), the railroad station, the air terminal, banks, hotels, private residences, and villas.