Pretoria (prĭtôˈrēə) [key], city, Gauteng prov., administrative capital of South Africa and formerly capital of Transvaal. Pretoria is now part and seatof the City of Tshwane 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 Pretorius, a Boer (Afrikaner) leader. Pretoria became the capital of the South African Republic (the Transvaal) in 1860. During the South African War (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 Town 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 Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.