Pretoria is a city located in the Gauteng Province in South Africa. Pretoria is one of three capital cities in the country and is the seat of the government’s executive branch. As of 2016, the urban area of Pretoria has a population of 2.125 million.
The South African city of Pretoria is not just one of the country’s capitals, but it also is the center of the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality. The city itself has over 700,000 inhabitants, while the much-larger urban area has a population of 2,125,000. Pretoria has built a reputation around higher education and research, as it is the home of three universities and hosts the South African Bureau of Standards.
Pretoria Size and Population Density
The city of Pretoria occupies 687.54 kilometers squared (265.46 square miles). The population density comes to approximately 1,100 residents per square kilometer (2,800 residents per square mile).
Pretoria is located north of Johannesburg and lies between the Bushveld and Highveld. It stretches across approximately 1,644 kilometers. The city itself has a population that exceeds 700,000, and the urban population exceeds 2 million.
According to data from 2011, the primary ethnicity was white, comprising 52.5% of the population. Black Africans accounted for 42% of the population, followed by Coloured at 2.5%, Indian or Asian at 1.9% and Other at 1.2%. This is a significant change from 2001 data, which had Whites listed as 67.7% of the population and Black Africans accounting for just 24.5%. When the township populations are considered, whites become a minority in Pretoria, although the city still has the largest white population in sub-Sahara Africa.
The primary language spoken in the area is Afrikaans. Other languages include Sepedi, Xitsonga, Sesotho and English, amongst others. The religion is varied across the area, and Pretoria is the site of churches, mosques, synagogues and a Jewish temple.
In addition to being the seat of the country’s executive branch of government, the de facto capital city also hosts foreign embassies, and has the second largest number of embassies in the world behind the United States. The city is the site of many official government offices, including the office of South Africa’s president, which is located in the Union Building. Pretoria is considered a major commercial and industrial center, and its main industries include manufacturing in railroads, automobile and machinery and iron and steel casting.
The river valley that was to one day become Pretoria was settled around 1600 by the Southern Transvaal Ndebele. However, Zulu raiders forced settlers to abandon their villages in 1832. Boer families came into the area around 1840 to settle in the Fountains Valley. When independence was declared in 1852, the area became a prime spot for weddings, baptisms and communions.
The city of Pretoria was not founded until 1855 by Marthinus Pretorius. The city was named after his father, Andries, a Voortrekkers hero who led the Battle of Blood River. When it was founded, the city had a population of about 300 people.
In 1856, the city began to take shape. It earned the nicknames “city of roses” and “Jacaranda city” because of the trees and flowers that bloomed in the temperate climate. After the British annexed the area, migrants began to come in, increasing the population. Pretoria earned city status in 1931, and when South African became a republic 30 years later, the city maintained its role as administrative capital.
Pretoria Population Growth
Because of its role in politics and its thriving industries, the population of Pretoria is expected to grow at a steady rate over the next few decades. The 2016 population of 2.1 million is estimated to climb to 2.3 million in 2020, while it is expected to exceed 2.7 million by 2030.