Republik Südafrika     
Republic
South Africa - RSA - Republiek van Suid-Afrika


Republic occupying the southernmost portion of Africa. In 1910, the British colonies of Cape of Good Hope, Natal, Transvaal and Orange River Colony united to form the Union of South Africa, a self-governing dominion within the British Commonwealth. In 1961, the republic was established. 

After 1948, South African internal policy was based on apartheid, a program of separate development of the races. This policy reserved for the white minority (17.5 percent of the population) the best jobs, political control of the government, and much higher wages than those of other ethnic groups. The plan aimed at the eventual creation of a large number of independent ethnic states. Four black states (Bantustans) were created: Transkei (1976); Bophuthatswana (1977); Venda (1979); and Ciskei (1981). None received international recognition, although each issued stamps that were routinely used within their borders. 

The South African government began to liberalize its policies during the 1980s, and in 1990 the chief black nationalist party, the African National Congress, was legalized. Negotiations between the regime and the ANC led to the removal of apartheid the following year. 

During 1992/94 events moved rapidly toward majority rule, which was effected with the ANC's April 1994 election victory.

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