Bloemfontein blo͞omˈfŏntānˌ [key], city, judicial capital of South Africa, capital of Free State prov., and seat of Mangaung metropolitan municipality. It is a transportation hub and industrial center, containing railroad workshops, food-processing plants, and factories that produce furniture, plastics, and glassware. Bloemfontein was founded in 1846 and served as the capital of the Orange Free State Republic (see Free State) until its capture (1900) by British forces during the South African War. Afterward, it was the site of the final negotiations (1909) that led to the establishment (1910) of the Union of South Africa. Among the city's educational institutions are the Univ. of the Free State (founded 1855; university status 1950) and the Central Univ. of Technology (1981).

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