10 Historic Facts About Durban, South Africa
Durban is the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. After Johannesburg, the Durban Metropolitan Area ranks second among the most populous urban areas in South Africa, virtually ex-aequo with Cape Town.
It is also the second most important manufacturing hub in South Africa after Johannesburg. It forms part of the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality. Durban is famous for being the busiest port in South Africa. It is also seen as one of the major centres of tourism because of the city’s warm subtropical climate and extensive beaches. The municipality, which includes neighbouring towns, has a population of almost 3.5 million, making the combined municipality one of the biggest cities on the Indian Ocean coast of the African continent. The metropolitan land area of 2,292 square kilometres (885 sq mi) is comparatively larger than other South African cities, resulting in a somewhat lower population density of 1,513/km2 (3,920/sq mi).
It has the highest number of dollar millionaires added per year of any South African city with the number rising 200% between 2000 and 2014.
In May 2015, Durban was officially recognized as one of the New7Wonders Cities together with Vigan, Doha, La Paz, Havana, Beirut, and Kuala Lumpur.
TEN HISTORIC FACTS ABOUT DURBAN;
- The site of Durban was visited in 1497 by Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, who named it Rio de Natal. Natal means “Christmas” in Portuguese.
- Ushaka Marine World (in Durban) is the world’s 5th largest aquarium. Located at the end of Durban’s Golden Mile uShaka Marine World is the world’s largest marine theme park and home to the fifth largest aquarium in the world. It is spread over 15 hectares of prime beach front.
- The first steam railway in South Africa was opened in Durban in 1860. The line was only 8 km long (between the Point and Pine Terrace).
- The Gateway shopping center is the largest shopping mall in Africa and the Southern Hemisphere and is situated in the Northern Durban suburb Umhlanga. The Gateway shopping center was modeled on the Mall of America, has more than 350 stores and more than 70 restaurants, 18 movie theatres, 6 Nouveau Cinemas, an IMAX theatre, a theme park, a 4000 square meter skate park (designed by Tony Hawk), the world’s highest indoor climbing rock and the highest fountain in Africa.
- Durban’s first cricket match of any note dates back to 2 May 1860, so there is an interesting Durban anniversary this month.
- British Colonization of the region started in 1824. The settlement was called Port Natal. In 1835 the city was renamed to Durban (named after then Cape Colony governor Sir Benjamin d’Urban).
- Durban harbor is the 9th largest harbor in the world.
- The eThekwini (formerly Durban) City Hall is a replica of the Belfast City Hall in Northern Ireland. It was built during the early 1900s in neo-Baroque style and today is home to the city’s municipal chambers, a public library, auditorium, the Durban Art Gallery and the Natural Science Museum.
- KwaZulu, which means ‘Home of the Zulu’, was integrated with the former province of Natal after the first democratic elections in 1994. Natal means ‘Christmas’ in Portuguese. As it happens, Vasco da Gama, an explorer, was passing by the coastline on Christmas day (1497) and thought he’d give it a name.
- Today, Durban is the busiest container port in Africa