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JOHANNESBURG

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Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 432 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JOHANNESBURG, a city of the Transvaal and the centre of the Rand gold-mining industry. It is the most populous city and the commercial capital of South Africa. It is built on the southern slopes of the Witwatersrand in 26° 11' S. 28° 2' E., at an elevation of 5764 ft. above the sea. The distances by rail from Johannesburg to the following seaports are: Louren90 Marques, 364 m.; Durban, 483 m.; East London, 6S9 M.; Port Elizabeth, 714 m.; Cape Town, 957 M. Pretoria is, by rail, 46 m. N. by E. The town lies immediately north of the central part of the main gold reef. The streets run in straight lines east and west or north and south. The chief open spaces are Market Square in the west and Government Square in the south of the town. Park railway station lies north of the business quarter, and farther north are the Wanderers' athletic sports ground and Joubert's Park. The chief business streets, such as Commissioner Street, Market Street, President Street and Pritchard Street, run east and west. In these thoroughfares and in several of the streets which intersect them are the offices of the mining companies, the banks, clubs, newspaper offices, hotels and shops, the majority being handsome stone or brick buildings, while the survival of some wooden shanties and corrugated iron buildings recalls the early character of the town. Chief Buildings, &c.—In the centre of Market Square are the market buildings, and at its east end the post and telegraph free but not compulsory. The Transvaal university college, founded in 1904 as the technical institute (the change of title being made in 1906), provides full courses in science, mining, engineering and law. In 1906 Alfred Beit (q.v.) bequeathed £200,000 towards the cost of erecting and equipping university buildings. In its social life Johannesburg differs widely from Cape Town and Durban. The white population is not only far larger but more cosmopolitan, less stationary and more dependent on a single industry; it has few links with the past, and both city and citizens bear the marks of youth. The cost of living is much higher than in London or New York. House rent, provisions, clothing, are all very dear, and more than counterbalance the lowness of rates. The customary unit of expenditure is the threepenny-bit or " tickey." Sanitary and other Services.—T here is an ample supply of water to the town and mines, under a water board representing all the Rand municipalities and the mining companies. A water-borne sewerage system began to be introduced in r906. The general illuminant is electricity, and both electrical and gas services are owned by the municipality. The tramway service, opened in 1891, was taken over by the municipality in 1904. Up to 1906 the trams were horse-drawn; in that year electric cars began running. Rickshaws are also a favourite means of conveyance. The police force is controlled by the government. Area, Government and Rateable Value.—The city proper covers about 6 sq. m. The municipal boundary extends in every direction some 5 M. from Market Square, encloses about 82 sq. m. and includes several of the largest mines. The local government is carried on by an elected municipal council, the franchise being restricted to white British subjects (men and women) who rent or own property of a certain value. In 1908 the rateable value of the municipality was £36,466,644, the rate 21d. in the £, and the town debt £5,500,000. Population.—In 1887 the population was about 3000. By the beginning of 1890 it had increased to over 25,000. A census taken in July 1896 showed a population within a radius of 3 M. from Market Square of 102,078, of whom 50,907 were whites. At the census of April 1904 the inhabitants of the city proper numbered 99,022, the population within the municipal area being 155,642, of whom 83,363 were whites. Of the white inhabitants, 35 % were of British origin, 51,629 were males, and 31,734 females. Of persons aged sixteen or over, the number of males was almost double the number of females. The coloured population included about 7000 British Indians—chiefly small traders. A municipal census taken in August 19o8 gave the following result: whites 95,162; natives and coloured 78,781; Asiatics 678o—total 180,687. History.—Johannesburg owes its existence to the discovery of gold in the Witwatersrand reefs. The town, named after Johannes Rissik, then surveyor-general of the Transvaal, was founded in September 1886, the first buildings being erected on the part of the reef where are now the Ferreira and Wemmer mines. These buildings were found to cover valuable ore, and in December following the Boer government marked out the site of the city proper, and possession of the plots was given to purchasers on the 1st of January 1887. The exploitation of the mines led to a rapid development of the town during the next three years. The year 1890 was one of great depression following the exhaustion of the surface ore, but the provision of better machinery and cheaper coal led to a revival in 1891. By 1892 the leading mines had proved their dividend-earning capacity, and in 1895 there was a great " boom " in the shares of the mining companies. The linking of the town to the seaports by railways during 1892–1895 gave considerable impetus to the gold-mining industry. Material prosperity was accompanied, how-ever, by political, educational and other disadvantages, and the desire of the Johannesburgers—most of whom were foreigners or " Uitlanders "—to remedy the grievances under which they suffered led, in January 1896, to an abortive rising against the Boer government (see TRANSVAAL: History). One result of this movement was a slight advance in municipal self-government. Since 1887 the management of the town had been entrusted to a nominated sanitary board, under the chairmanship of the mining commissioner appointed by the South African Republic. In 1890 elected members had been admitted to this board, but at the end of 1897 an elective sladsraad (town council) was constituted, though its functions were strictly limited. There was a great development in the mining industry during 1897–1898 and 1899, the, value of the gold extracted in 1898 exceeding £15,000,000, but the political situation grew worse, and in September 1899, owing to the imminence of war between the Transvaal and Great Britain, the majority of the Uitlanders fled from the city. Between October 1899, when war broke out, and the 31st of May 1900, when the city was taken by the British, the Boer government worked certain mines for their own benefit. After a period of military administration and of government by a nominated town council, an ordinance was passed in June 1903 providing for elective municipal councils, and in December following the first election to the new council took place. In 1905 the town was divided into wards. In that year the number of municipal voters was 23,338. In 1909 the proportional representation system was adopted in the election of town councillors. During 1901–1903, while the war was still in progress or but recently concluded, the gold output was comparatively slight. The difficulty in obtaining sufficient labour for the mines led to a successful agitation for the importation of coolies from China (see TRANSVAAL: History). During 1904–1906 over 50,000 coolies were 'brought to the mines, a greatly increased output being the result, the value of the gold extracted in 1905 exceeding £20,000,000. Notwithstanding the increased production of gold, Johannesburg during 1905–1907 passed through a period of severe commercial depression, the result in part of the unsettled political situation. In June 1907 the repatriation of the Chinese coolies began; it was completed in February 1910. An excellent compilation, entitled Johannesburg Statistics, dealing with almost every phase of the city's life, is issued monthly (since January 1905) by the town council. See also the Post Office Directory, Transvaal (Johannesburg, annually), which contains specially prepared maps, and the annual reports of the Johannesburg chamber of commerce. For the political history of Johannesburg, see the bibliography under TRANSVAAL.
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