Gauteng, which means “place of gold”, is one of the nine provinces of South Africa. It was formed from part of the old Transvaal Province after South Africa’s first multiracial elections on 27 April 1994. It was initially named Pretoria–Witwatersrand–Vereeniging (PWV) and was renamed “Gauteng” in December 1994.
Situated in the Highveld, Gauteng is the smallest province in South Africa, accounting for only 1.5% of the land area. Nevertheless, it is highly urbanised, containing the country’s largest city, Johannesburg, its administrative capital, Pretoria, and other large industrial areas such as Midrand and Vanderbijlpark. As of 2017, Gauteng is the most populous province in South Africa with a population of approximately 14,200,000 people according to estimates.
Gauteng, formerly known as Pretoria–Witwatersrand–Vereeniging (PWV), was carved out of the old Transvaal province in 1994, although the terminology “PWV”, describing the region existed long before that.
The history of the area that is now Gauteng can be traced back to the early 1800s when settlers originating from the Cape Colony defeated chief Mzilikazi and started establishing villages in the area. After the discovery of gold in 1886, the region proceeded to become the single largest gold producer in the world and the city of Johannesburg was founded. The older city Pretoria was not subject to the same attention and development. Pretoria grew at a slower rate and was highly regarded due to its role in the Second Boer War. The Cullinan Diamond which is the largest diamond ever mined was mined near Pretoria in a nearby town called Cullinan in the year 1905.
Gauteng has only been properly documented since the 1800s and as a result, not much information regarding its history predating the 1800s is available. At the Sterkfontein caves, some of the oldest fossils of hominids have been discovered, such as Mrs. Ples and Little Foot.
Many crucial events happened in present-day Gauteng with regards to the anti-apartheid struggle, such as the Sharpeville massacre of 1960, the Rivonia Trial in 1963 and 1964 and the Soweto Uprising of 1976. Today, the Apartheid Museum stands testament to these struggles in Johannesburg.