Sites & cities that bear the name of Bloemfontein


Today in : South Africa
First trace of activity : ca. 17th century C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : ǀKxʼauxa ǃXās, ǀʼAuxa ǃXās, Mangaung, Bloem

Description : Bloemfontein (/ˈbluːmfɒnteɪn/ BLOOM-fon-tayn; Afrikaans: ; also known as Bloem) is the capital city of the Free State Province of South Africa; and, as the judicial capital of the nation, one of South Africa's three national capitals (the other two being Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Pretoria, the administrative capital) and is the seventh largest city in South Africa. Situated at an elevation of 1,395 m (4,577 ft) above sea level, the city is home to approximately 520,000 residents and forms part of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality which has a population of 747,431. Bloemfontein is popularly and poetically known as "the city of roses", for its abundance of these flowers and the annual rose festival held there. The city's Sesotho name is Mangaung, meaning "place of cheetahs". Its !Orakobab name is ǀʼAuxa ǃXās or ǀKxʼauxa ǃXās (Khoekhoegowab spelling: ǀAuxa !Khās), which refers to Jan Bloem II, known as !Xās-aob or Blumtseb who was a gaokxʼaob (chief) of the ǀŨdiǁʼaes (Springbok Clan) of the !Ora ("Korana") nation, whose kraal was the original settlement before the city was built. The origin of the city's name is disputed. It has been assumed to be from the Dutch words bloem (flower) and fontein (fountain), meaning fountain of flowers. Popular colonial legends include an ox named "Bloem" owned by Rudolphus Martinus Brits, one of the pioneer farmers that was taken by a lion near a fountain on his property, while the more likely indigenous history names Jan Bloem II (1775–1858), a !Ora ("Korana" Khoekhoe) leader who settled there. His father, Jan Bloem, was a fugitive from the Cape Colony, where he reportedly was escaping arrest after murdering his first wife. Bloem was well known as an expert marksman, and married into the ǀHõaǁʼaes (Katz clan) and ǀŨdiǁʼaes where he played a role in training !Ora artillery fighters during the first !Ora Wars (a century prior to the second !Ora Wars) on the ǂNū!arib (Orange River) in the second half of the 18th century CE. His son was born in 1775 into the Springbok Clan (ǀŨdiǁʼaes), later becoming the kapteijn or chief of this polity. Though historically a !Orana settlement, and then a Boer settlement, Bloemfontein was officially founded in 1846 as a fort by British army major Henry Douglas Warden as a British outpost in the Transoranje region, at that stage occupied by various groups of peoples including !Orana (so-called "Korana" of the ǀHõaǁʼaes, ǀHũdiǁʼaes, Einiǁʼaes and others), Cape Colony Trek Boers, Griqua (at that time known as Baasters), and Barolong.

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