Located in northeastern South Africa, Johannesburg is the fourth most-populated city on the Africa continent. (Lagos, Cairo, and Kinshasa have larger populations.)
The settlement of Johannesburg only began in the 1800s, when gold was discovered. This discovery triggered a gold rush, with fortune hunters from around the globe racing to claim their portion of the riches. Black men from across southern Africa soon made their way to the area in search of temporary work in the gold mines. By the 1900s, more than 100,000 people lived in Johannesburg, and the gold mine employed over 75,000 workers.
When the Apartheid policy of racial segregation came into affect in South Africa in 1948, Johannesburg became of the struggle for democracy and equality. The Sharpeville massacre, the 1976 Soweto Uprising, and the shooting of 13-year old student Hector Pieterson all took place in Johannesburg. From the 1970s to the early 1990s, internationally media frequently covered the violent clashes between protesters of the apartheid regime and the country’s police and army. With this increasing coverage Johannesburg gained a reputation as one of the world’s dangerous places.
The city became far safer With the first free elections in 1994. Today Johannesburg, is one of only major metropolitan areas in the world without a coastline or major river access, yet it is the economic and financial hub of southern Africa. And, in 2010, Johannesburg hosted the FIFA World Cup.