Johannesburg (/dʒoʊˈhænɪsbɜːrɡ/; Afrikaans: [jʊəˈɦanəsbœrχ]; also known as Jozi, Joburg and Egoli) is the largest city in South Africa and is one of the 50 largest urban areas in the world.[8] It is the provincial capital and largest city in Gauteng, which is the wealthiest province in South Africa.[9] While Johannesburg is not one of South Africa's three capital cities, it is the seat of the Constitutional Court. The city is located in the mineral-rich Witwatersrand range of hills and is the centre of large-scale gold and diamond trade.

The metropolis is an alpha global city as listed by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. In 2011, the population of the city of Johannesburg was 4,434,827, making it the most populous city in South Africa.[10] In the same year, the population of Johannesburg's urban agglomeration was put at 7,860,781.[4] The land area of the municipal city (1,645 km2 (635 sq mi)) is large in comparison with those of other major cities, resulting in a moderate population density of 2,364/km2 (6,120/sq mi).

The city was established in 1886 following the discovery of gold on what had been a farm. The city is commonly interpreted as the modern day El Dorado[by whom?] due to the extremely large gold deposit found along the Witwatersrand.[11] The name is attributed to one or all of three men involved in the establishment of the city. In ten years, the population was 100,000 inhabitants.

A separate city from the late 1970s until the 1990s, Soweto is now part of Johannesburg. Originally an acronym for "South-Western Townships", Soweto originated as a collection of settlements on the outskirts of Johannesburg, populated mostly by native African workers from the gold mining industry. Soweto, although eventually incorporated into Johannesburg, had been separated as a residential area for blacks, who were not permitted to live in Johannesburg proper. Lenasia is predominantly populated by English-speaking South Africans of Indian descent. These areas were designated as non-white areas in accordance with the segregationist policies of the South African government known as apartheid

Controversy surrounds the origin of the name. There were quite a number of people with the name "Johannes" who were involved in the early history of the city. Among them are the principal clerk attached to the office of the surveyor-general Hendrik Dercksen, Christiaan Johannes Joubert, who was a member of the Volksraad and was Republic's chief of mining. Another was Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger (better known as Paul Kruger), president of the South African Republic (ZAR) from 1883 - 1900. Johannes Meyer, the first government official in the area is another possibility.

Precise records for the choice of name were lost. Johannes Rissik and Johannes Joubert were members of a delegation sent to England to attain mining rights for the area. Joubert had a park in the city named after him and Rissik has his name for one of the main streets in the city where the historically important albeit dilapidated Rissik Street Post Office is located.[12][13] The City Hall is also located on Rissik Street.

The main Witwatersrand gold reef was discovered in June 1884 on the farm Vogelstruisfontein by Jan Gerritse Bantjes that triggered the Witwatersrand Gold Rush and the start of Johannesburg in 1886. The discovery of gold rapidly attracted people to the area, making necessary a name and governmental organisation for the area. Johann and Johannes were common male names among the Dutch of that time; two men involved in surveying the area for the best location of the city, Christian Johannes Joubert and Johann Rissik, are considered the source of the name by some. Johannes Meyer, the first government official in the area is another possibility. Precise records for the choice of name were lost.[16] Within ten years, the city of Johannesburg included 100,000 people.[17]

In September 1884, the Struben brothers discovered the Confidence Reef on the farm Wilgespruit near present-day Roodepoort, which further boosted excitement over gold prospects. The first gold to be crushed on the Witwatersrand was the gold-bearing rock from the Bantjes mine crushed using the Struben brothers stamp machine. Also, news of the discovery soon reached Kimberley and directors Cecil Rhodes with Sir Joseph Robinson rode up to investigate rumors for themselves. They were guided to the Bantjes camp with its tents strung out over several kilometres and stayed with Bantjes for two nights.

In 1884, they purchased the first pure refined gold from Bantjes for £3000. Incidentally, Bantjes had since 1881 been operating the Kromdraai Gold Mine in the Cradle of Humankind together with his partner Johannes Stephanus Minnaar where they first discovered gold in 1881, and which also offered another kind of discovery - the early ancestors of all mankind. Some report Australian George Harrison as the first to make a claim for gold in the area that became Johannesburg, as he found gold on a farm in July 1886. He did not stay in the area.[18]

Gold was earlier discovered some 400 kilometres (249 miles) to the east of present-day Johannesburg, in Barberton. Gold prospectors soon discovered the richer gold reefs of the Witwatersrand offered by Bantjes. The original miners' camp, under the informal leadership of Col Ignatius Ferreira, was located in the Fordsburg dip, possibly because water was available there, and because of the site's proximity to the diggings. Following upon the establishment of Johannesburg, the area was taken over by the Government who had it surveyed and named it Ferreira's Township, today the suburb of Ferreirasdorp. The first settlement at Ferreira's Camp was established as a tented camp and which soon reached a population of 3,000 by 1887.[17] The government took over the camp, surveyed it and named it Ferreira's Township.[19] By 1896, Johannesburg was established as a city of over 100,000 inhabitants, one of the fastest growth cities ever.[17]

Mines near Johannesburg are among the deepest in the world, with some as deep as 4000m

Johannesburg is situated on the highveld plateau, and has a subtropical highland climate (Köppen Cwb). The city enjoys a sunny climate, with the summer months (October to April) characterised by hot days followed by afternoon thundershowers and cool evenings, and the winter months (May to September) by dry, sunny days followed by cold nights.[29] Temperatures in Johannesburg are usually fairly mild due to the city's high elevation, with an average maximum daytime temperature in January of 25.6 °C (78.1 °F), dropping to an average maximum of around 16 °C (61 °F) in June. The UV index for Johannesburg in summers is extreme, often reaching 14-16 due to the high elevation and its location in the subtropics.[30]

Winter is the sunniest time of the year, with mild days and cool nights, dropping to 4.1 °C (39.4 °F) in June and July. The temperature occasionally drops to below freezing at night, causing frost. Snow is a rare occurrence, with snowfall having been experienced in the twentieth century during May 1956, August 1962, June 1964 and September 1981. In the 21st century, there was light sleet in 2006, as well as snow proper on 27 June 2007 (accumulating up to 10 centimetres (4 in) in the southern suburbs)[31] and 7 August 2012.[32]

Regular cold fronts pass over in winter bringing very cold southerly winds but usually clear skies. The annual average rainfall is 713 millimetres (28.1 in), which is mostly concentrated in the summer months. Infrequent showers occur through the course of the winter months. The lowest nighttime minimum temperature ever recorded in Johannesburg is −8.2 °C (17.2 °F), on 13 June 1979. The lowest daytime maximum temperature recorded is 1.5 °C (34.7 °F), on 19 June 1964

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