You may be 130 years old this month Johannesburg but to us you are still young, vibrant and full of fun. Happy birthday!
Brief birthday history
South Africa’s biggest city is celebrating its 130th birthday this month. Established by the Boer Government in 1886 when gold was discovered along the Witwatersrand reef, Johannesburg continues to be a mining giant, hence the name, City of Gold.
By the time the Anglo-Boer War had started, the city had developed significantly, with a working railway system, horse-drawn trams and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) all in full operation. In the early days, Johannesburg consisted of nine farms that had acquired rights to dig for gold. The area of Ferreirasdorp is the oldest known suburb of Johannesburg.
Historians are not certain how Johannesburg got its name beyond knowing that it was named after someone called Johann. Unfortunately, Johann is a common Dutch name. However, the most likely candidate is Johann Rissik, who served as the first clerk in the office of the surveyor general, who was left to declare the new city’s name in a hurry.
Why we love Jozi
Today, Johannesburg has grown to cover over 2300km2 – a space larger than Sydney, London and New York. It is home to over 4.6 million people and is one of the world’s richest heritage sites.
It is the largest man-made forest in the world thanks to Sir Lionel Phillips and other Randlords who covered Forestown, Parktown, Saxonwold (Saxonforest) in trees. Visit this city in spring to see beautiful Jacaranda trees turn Johannesburg into a purple garden.
It is the largest landlocked city in the world, due to its rapid expansion and placement in the middle of all the “rands” there is no in-land city that even compares to Jozi in size. There are bigger cities overall but they are either coastal or built on a lake or river.
Johannesburg was founded and named on 4 October 1886. Though it is 130 years old this year, it is still one of the youngest cities in the world and continues to grow, develop and be the economic driver on the African continent.
Happy Birthday Jozi!
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