South Africa (Dutch: Zuid-Afrika), officially referred to as the Union of South Africa (Unie van Zuid-Afrika), is a sovereign state which is located in Southern Africa. The nation is bordered by Angola and Zambia to its north, and Mozambique to its east. South Africa is a constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth Realm.
From the 17th Century onward, the Cape of Good Hope and surrounding territory have been under the control of various European empires. The Dutch were the first to colonize the region. The British took over the Dutch colony following the Napoleonic Wars. Unhappy with the transfer of power, many Dutch settlers fled inland and established their own states (known as the Boer Republics). Following the discovery of diamonds within the area, the British seized the Boer Republics and annexed them into the Empire. During this same time, the German Empire established a colony in Namibia. The German colony was awarded to South Africa following World War I.
In a manner similar to Acadia and Australia years prior, the British unified their colonies in Southern Africa (the Cape Colony, Natal, the Orange Free State, and Transvaal) into a single dominion of South Africa. The union would later expand to include the remaining British colonies of the region. Unlike Acadia and Australia, the first incarnation of South Africa was a unitary state. The nation was reorganized into a federation during the 1970s.
Prior to the 1970s, much of South Africa's population was segregated (a policy known as Apartheid). This period was comparable to the Jim Crow Laws of the United States. Following the adoption of a federal constitution, many of the newly sovereign provinces quickly abandoned these racial policies, with the rest of the nation following suit by the end of the 1980s.
Throughout the 20th Century, the White population would increase dramatically due open immigration laws. The majority of these new immigrants came from the German States, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the former Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique. South Africa is a formally bilingual nation, with Dutch and English holding equal footing across the nation.
- Bechuanaland (Gaberones)
- Cape of Good Hope (Cape Town)
- Natal (Pietermaritzburg)
- Orange Free State (Bloemfontein)
- Rhodesia (Salisbury)
- South West Africa (Windhoek)
- Transvaal (Pretoria)
- Federal Territories
- External Territories