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South Africa - Country facts

Map

Small map of South Africa
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Flag

Country flag: South Africa

Capital

Pretoria; note - Cape Town is th

Currency

rand (ZAR)

Internet Code

.za

Location

Southern Africa, at the southern tip of the continent of Africa

Background

After the British seized the Cape of Good Hope area in 1806, many of the Dutch settlers (the Boers) trekked north to found their own republics. The discovery of diamonds (1867) and gold (1886) spurred wealth and immigration and intensified the subjugation of the native inhabitants. The Boers resisted British encroachments, but were defeated in the Boer War (1899-1902). The resulting Union of South Africa operated under a policy of apartheid - the separate development of the races. The 1990s brought an end to apartheid politically and ushered in black majority rule.

Climate

mostly semiarid; subtropical along east coast; sunny days, cool nights

Terrain

vast interior plateau rimmed by rugged hills and narrow coastal plain

Population

44,344,136
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to A

Ethnic Groups

black 75.2%, white 13.6%, Colored 8.6%, Indian 2.6%

Religions

Christian 68% (includes most whites and Coloreds, about 60% of blacks and about 40% of Indians), Muslim 2%, Hindu 1.5% (60% of Indians), indigenous beliefs and animist 28.5%

Languages

11 official languages, including Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu

Map of South Africa

Large map of South Africa
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