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Information on Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Conference Venues South Africa brings you information on Pietermaritzburg situated in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa including information on Facilities and Recreation, Climate, Founding, History Suburbs, Town Planning and Geography.

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Pietermaritzburg is the second largest city and capital of the province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. It was founded in 1838 and is a significant producer of Aluminium, as well as dairy products and wood.

Pietermaritzburg is set amidst the rolling countryside and forested hills of the Natal-Midlands and is one of the best-preserved Victorian cities in the world. The city is the administrative capital of the province and is conveniently situated between Johannesburg and Durban.

 

History of Pietermaritzburg

The city was originally founded by the Voortrekkers, following the defeat of Dingane at the Battle of Blood River and was the capital of the short lived Boer republic, Natalia. Britain took over Pietermaritzburg in 1843 and it became the seat of the Natal Colony's administration with the first lieutenant-governor, Martin West, making it his home. Fort Napier, named after the governor of the Cape Colony, Sir George Thomas Napier, was built to house a garrison. In 1893 Natal received responsibility for their own government and an assembly building was built along with the city hall. In 1910, when the Union of South Africa was formed, Natal became a province of the union, and Pietermaritzburg remained the capital.

There exist two interpretations about the origin of the city's name. One is that it was named after Piet Retief and Gert Maritz, two famous Voortrekker leaders. The other is that it was originally named after Piet Retief alone, since his full name was Pieter Mouriets Retief. In this interpretation the original name was "Pieter Mouriets Burg", later transliterated to the current name.

Retief was killed by Dingane, successor to Shaka, king of the Zulus. Maritz died in battle with the Zulus at Bloukranz, some hundreds of kilometres further North and so did not ever reach the Pietermaritzburg area. In 1938, however, the city announced officially that the second element Maritz should also honour Gert Maritz.

At the time of the rise of the Zulu Empire, the site that was to become Pietermaritzburg was called Umgungundlovu. This is popularly translated from the Zulu as "Place of the Elephant", although it could also be translated to mean "The elephant wins". Umgungundlovu is thus thought to be the site of some Zulu king's victory, since "Elephant" (Indlovu) is a name traditionally taken by the Zulu monarch. Legend has it that Shaka had his warriors hunt elephant there to sell the ivory to English traders at Durban (then called Port Natal). Today, the town is still called by its Voortrekker name, although the municipality it is part of bears the Zulu name.

During apartheid, the city was segregated into various sections. 90% of the Indian population was moved to the suburb of Northdale while most of its Zulu inhabitants were moved to the neighbouring township of Edendale.

Towns and Suburbs of the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa

Amanzimtoti , Assagay, Ballito , Bayala, Beachfront, Bergville , Berea , Bishopstowe , Blythedale , Botha's Hill , Cowies Hill , Curry's Post , Dargle , Drakensberg, Dundee, Durban City , Durban North , Empangeni , Estcourt , Eston , Geluksburg , Gillits , Glenwood , Greyville, Hillcrest , Hilton , Hluhluwe , Howick , Illovo , Inchanga , iSamangaliso Wetlands ,Isandlwana , Ixopo , Kloof , Kokstad , La Lucia , Lake Jozini , Lidgetton , Margate , Marina Beach , Melmoth , Mkuze , Mooi River , Morningside , Mount Edgecombe , Mtunzini , Musgrave , Newcastle , Nottingham Road , Oribi Gorge , Oslo Beach , Paulpietersburg , Pennington , Pietermaritzburg , Pinetown , Pongola , Pongolapoort , Port Edward , Port Shepstone , Richards Bay , Rosetta , Salt Rock , Scottburgh , Southbroom , Spioenkop . St Lucia , St Lucia Wetlands , Sydenham, Ulundi , Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park , Ulundi , Umhlanga Rocks , Umtentweni , Umzumbe, Underberg , Vryheid , Wartburg , Westville , Winkelspruit, Winterton , Zimbali , Zinkwazi Beach


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