Pretoria (prĬtô´rēə), city, Gauteng prov., administrative capital of South Africa and formerly capital of Transvaal. Pretoria is now part and seatof the City of Tshwane metropolitan municipality, and in 2005 the metropolitan council voted to rename Pretoria Tshwane, an action not yet approved by the central goverment. Although it is primarily an administrative center, there are important industries, especially iron and steel. The city has automobile assembly plants, railroad and machine shops, and flour mills. Pretoria is linked with the rest of South Africa by highways and railroads; an international airport is nearby.
Founded in 1855, the city was named for Andries Pretorius, a Boer (Afrikaner) leader. Pretoria became the capital of the South African Republic (the Transvaal) in 1860. During the South African War (1899–1902), Winston Churchill was imprisoned in Pretoria but escaped to Mozambique. The Peace of Vereeninging, which ended the war, was signed in Pretoria. When the Union of South Africa was founded in 1910, Pretoria became its administrative capital and Cape Town its parliamentary capital.
An educational and cultural center, Pretoria is the seat of the Univ. of South Africa (1873), the Univ. of Pretoria (founded 1908 as Transvaal Univ. College), and South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. The National Zoological Gardens and seven of the eight national museums that comprise the Ditsong Museums are also in the city.
PRETORIA , administrative capital of the Republic of South Africa. The earliest Jewish settlers after the foundation of Pretoria in 1855 were among the officials whom the Boer government brought from Holland. One such was M. de Vries, and although the laws of the Transvaal Republic placed civil disabilities upon non-Protestants, he became state prosecutor in 1868 and a member of the Volksraad (Legislative Assembly) in 1871. Jewish communal life dates from 1876, when minyanim were held in the home of Daniel M. Kisch, a photographer, and a Jewish wedding was celebrated in 1878. The first meeting of the congregation was held there in 1890, and the first synagogue building was consecrated in 1898. The first minister, the Rev. E. Jaffe, was appointed the following year. Jewish institutions today include the Pretoria Hebrew Congregation (Orthodox), Bet Menorah (Progressive), a Chevra Kaddisha and other philanthropic bodies, a branch of the Union of Jewish Women, and a women's Zionist organization. The Pretoria Council of the S.A. Jewish Board of Deputies acts as a coordinating body. The Jewish population numbered 3,553 in 1969 (1.2% of the total population). This had declined to 1,500 by 2004.
G. Saron and L. Hotz (eds.), The Jews in South Africa (1955).