The history of Gauteng is rooted in its origins as a gold rush region. The Gauteng province's fossil-rich Cradle of Humankind is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The history of Gauteng can be traced back to the early 1800's, when settlers from the Cape defeated Chief Mzilikazi and established villages in what is today Gauteng, South Africa.

Situated in the Highveld, Gauteng is the smallest province in South Africa, accounting for only 1.5% of the area.  It was first known as the PWV, which stands for Pretoria-Witwatersrand-Vereeniging.  These are the three urban centres that make up the province.

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.

Sophiatown was a township in Johannesburg where Black and White people lived together. It had a very exciting culture, and a famous music style called township-jazz, developed there in the 1940's and 50's.  But in the 1950's people were forced to move away.  This was because the apartheid government did not want Black and White people to live together, and therefore forced Black people to live in townships outside the city.  Sophiatown became a suburb where only White people could live, called Triomf (which means triumph or victory in Afrikaans). After apartheid was ended, the name was changed back to Sophiatown.  Today, the tourists visit the township to find out more about the place.

West of Johannesburg, at the Sterkfontein Caves, some of the world's oldest fossilised hominid remains has been discovered.  "Mrs. Ples" and "Little Foot" as the 2-million and 3-million-year-old fossils are known, bear testament to the fact that prehistoric man roamed this area long before the arrival of the European settlers.

In 1905 at Cullinan, a town just outside Pretoria, the huge Cullinan Diamond was found.  It is by far the biggest diamond ever discovered. 

The Union Buildings in Pretoria is the building overlooking Pretoria where the government has some of its administrative offices.  The President of South Africa has an office in the Union Buildings.

Gauteng means "Place of Gold" in the Sotho languages. This juxtaposition still exists today while Johannesburg is called "city of gold" and retains its frantic pace, Pretoria is referred to as the "Jacaranda city" and exudes a more laid back vibe.



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