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(prĭtô`rēə), city, Gauteng prov., administrative capital of South AfricaSouth Africa,
Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2015 est. pop. 55,291,000), 471,359 sq mi (1,220,813 sq km), S Africa. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean in the west, on Namibia in the northwest, on Botswana and Zimbabwe in the north, on
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 and formerly capital of TransvaalTransvaal
, former province, NE South Africa. With the new constitution of 1994, it was divided into Eastern Transvaal (now Mpumalanga), Northern Transvaal (now Limpopo), Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Veereeniging (now Gauteng), and part of North West prov.
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. Pretoria is now part and seatof the City of TshwaneTshwane, City of,
metropolitan municipality (2011 pop. 2,921,488), Gauteng prov., NE South Africa. Pretoria is the municipal seat; other communities include Soshanguve, Mamelodi, Mabopane, and Centurion.
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 metropolitan municipality, and in 2005 the metropolitan council voted to rename Pretoria Tshwane, an action not yet approved by the central goverment. Although it is primarily an administrative center, there are important industries, especially iron and steel. The city has automobile assembly plants, railroad and machine shops, and flour mills. Pretoria is linked with the rest of South Africa by highways and railroads; an international airport is nearby.

Founded in 1855, the city was named for Andries PretoriusPretorius, Andries Wilhelmus Jacobus
, 1799–1853, Boer (Afrikaner) leader. He was elected (1838) commandant general of the Boers of Natal and in that year defeated a large force of Zulus at Blood River.
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, a BoerBoer
[Du.,=farmer], inhabitant of South Africa of Dutch or French Huguenot descent. Boers are also known as Afrikaners. They first settled (1652) near the Cape of Good Hope in what was formerly Cape Province.
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 (Afrikaner) leader. Pretoria became the capital of the South African Republic (the Transvaal) in 1860. During the South African WarSouth African War
or Boer War,
1899–1902, war of the South African Republic (Transvaal) and the Orange Free State against Great Britain. Background
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 (1899–1902), Winston Churchill was imprisoned in Pretoria but escaped to Mozambique. The Peace of Vereeninging, which ended the war, was signed in Pretoria. When the Union of South Africa was founded in 1910, Pretoria became its administrative capital and Cape TownCape Town
or Capetown,
city, legislative capital of South Africa, capital of Western Cape prov., and seat of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality; a port on the Atlantic Ocean. It was the capital of Cape Province before that province's subdivision in 1994.
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 its parliamentary capital.

An educational and cultural center, Pretoria is the seat of the Univ. of South Africa (1873), the Univ. of Pretoria (founded 1908 as Transvaal Univ. College), and South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. The National Zoological Gardens and seven of the eight national museums that comprise the Ditsong Museums are also in the city.



the capital of the Republic of South Africa and of the province of the Transvaal. It is situated in the northeastern part of the country at an elevation of 1,738 m, along both banks of the unnavigable Apies River. An important transportation junction for railroads and highways that link various regions of the Republic with countries of southeastern and central Africa, it is 43 km from the Jan Smuts International Airport. The coldest month is June (about 10°C), and the hottest month is January (21.4°C); the annual precipitation is 741 mm. With suburbs, Pretoria occupies an area of more than 560 sq km. The population is 544,000 (1970; according to some sources, 571,500), including 304,600 Europeans and 234,700 Africans, who are victims of harsh racial discrimination.

Pretoria was founded in 1855 by the Boers and was named in honor of A. W. J. Pretorius. In 1860 it became the capital of the South African Republic, the official name of the Boer republic of the Transvaal, in 1910 of the Union of South Africa, and in 1961 of the Republic of South Africa.

Pretoria is a major industrial center, whose growth was aided by the proximity of the Witwatersrand, the country’s most important industrial region. The city is a center for ferrous metallurgy and approximately half of its total work force is employed by a state-operated metallurgical plant, the Iron and Steel Industrial Corporation (ISCOR). There are enterprises of the machine-building and metalworking industries—automobile assembly and production of bicycles and electrical equipment— as well as the chemical, textile, food-processing, tobacco, cement, glass, and printing industries. The city also has large railroad workshops. Nearby there is a plant for the production of ferrovanadium, and diamonds (at the Premier mines) and iron ore are mined.


Pretoria has a regular street plan. The city’s historical center is Church Square, surrounded by the former Volksraad building (1899) and by other 19th-century structures of varying architectural styles. Twentieth-century buildings include neoclassic structures by H. Baker and functionalist ones by N. Iton, W. G. Mcintosh, and B. Sendrok. Modern Pretoria abounds with greenery. Skyscrapers, located mainly in the eastern, business district, stand side by side with suburban slums, where the Coloured population is concentrated. Near the city is a monument, completed in 1949, to the first Transvaal settlers.

In Pretoria are the University of South Africa, the University of Pretoria, and the Pretoria College for Advanced Technical Education. There are a number of research institutions and scientific and scholarly societies, including the Directorate of Agricultural Research (which administers 11 institutes, six located in Pretoria), the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, the Geological Survey of South Africa, and the Radcliffe Observatory, as well as the Africa Institute and the South African Academy of Science and Art.

Pretoria also has major libraries, including the Transvaal Provincial Library, which coordinates 20 regional libraries, the State Library, the University of Pretoria Libraries, and the Sanlam Library of the University of South Africa. Museums include the Municipal Art Gallery, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Transvaal Museum, and the National Cultural History and Open-Air Museum.


a city in N South Africa, the administrative capital of South Africa; formerly capital of Transvaal province: two universities (1873, 1930); large steelworks. Pop.: 525 384 (2001)