Polokwane, situated 270 km north of Pretoria, was historically Pietersburg, a bastion of white conservatism in the northern part of South Africa. Today it is the capital of the Limpopo province and the largest urban area in the province. Established in 1886, Pietersburg developed as a regional service centre. Under apartheid, the town provided schools, hospitals, financial and other services, and trading spaces to its inhabitants and the surrounding commercial farming communities, and increasingly to the rural population in traditional areas. The creation of the University of the North in 1959 further boosted the development of the city. Economic decline in Zimbabwe has brought medium-term advantages to Polokwane. The history of Polokwane must be understood against the background of apartheid policy. Originally, the city was named after a prominent Afrikaner, Petrus Joubert, Commandant-General of the South African Republic from 1880 to 1900. Pietersburg's residence and business activities were racially segregated and exclusively managed by the Pietersburg Town Council.