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Number of Individuals with Internet Access: It is bordered by Namibia in the northwest, Zimbabwe and Botswana in the north, Mozambique in the northeast, Swaziland in the east, and the Indian and Atlantic oceans in the south, southeast, and southwest.
The small Kingdom of Lesotho is completely surrounded by South Africa. South Africa is probably the only country in the world to boast four capital cities. Johannesburg, the country's largest city, is the commercial capital.
It is located in the midst of the country's gold and diamond mining industry. Nearby Pretoria is the country's administrative capital. Cape Town is the legislative capital, where the South African Parliament meets. Bloemfontein is the country's judicial capital.
South Africa is considered one of the most developed countries in Africa. According to the Global Competitiveness ReportSouth Africa was ranked number 34 in the world in terms of national economic growth prospects, placing it in the upper echelons of world countries.
This also made it the highest ranked African country in that category. Some have said white South Africans belonged in the Second World in terms of economic growth, industrialization, and prospects, while the country's African majority pulled the country into Third World membership.
Literacy is more than 90 percent for whites and about 60 percent for blacks, directly affecting newspaper read-ership. South Africa has a varied racial and ethnic makeup.
For much of its recent history, whites dominated its political, economic, and military setup. Coloreds mulattoes or those of racial mixed descentAsians mostly Indians, Pakistanis, and Chineseand some Arabs, served as a buffer between the whites who occupied the top rungs of the ladder and the black majority, which was exiled to the lowest rungs of the ladder.
Today, South Africa's population is 75 percent black Africans, 14 percent whites, 9 percent coloreds, and 2 percent Indians and other races. English is the official language. Most whites speak English or Afrikaans.
South Africa has 11 recognized languages, including English and Afrikaans. South African radio and television broadcast in the 11 recognized languages. Most newspapers, however, are published in English and Afrikaans.
Those that cater to the African majority are almost entirely in English, since many Africans refuse to speak Afrikaans, which they regard as the language of their former oppressors.
History South Africa is an old country, but its modern, recorded history is sometimes traced to the trade between European sailors who were plying the route to India.
Under white rule, it was claimed that Portuguese navigators Bartolomeu Dias, inand Vasco da Gama, inwere among the first European sailors to sail around the southern tip of South Africa.
The Portuguese, therefore, were the first Europeans to establish a presence at what would become known as the Cape of Good Hope, which was central to the route between Europe and India.
They were followed by the Dutch, who were also on their way to the east, when they decided to establish a presence at the cape. Unlike the Portuguese, who remained on the coast, the Dutch began to move inland. More Europeans followed, establishing the Cape as an integral part of trade with the East.
French Huguenots, fleeing religious persecution in Europe, arrived at the Cape and began to establish settlements, all without consulting with the indigenous Africans in the surrounding communities, which would lay the seeds for future conflicts.
By the s, the northward expansion of the white colonialists began to produce clashes with the indigenous Africans. As diamonds and gold were discovered in South Africa, the white population continued to rise.
War was inevitable, as English immigrants and their Dutch counterparts clashed. Britain was victorious, leading to the creation of the Union of South Africa, as a white-ruled self-governing entity. Also at this time, inthe South African Native National Congress was formed to champion the views and interests of the African majority, whose presence was ignored as the whites fought among themselves.
In the early years of the struggle, however, the fight was between English-speaking and Afrikaans-speaking whites. Afrikaans was the guttural language founded by whites from the Netherlands, Germany, and the French Huguenots.
It was distinctly different from English. It also served to separate Afrikaans speakers from their English-speaking counterparts. Until World War II, the United Party was dominated by English speakers, who were also better educated and were running the government, commerce, and industry.
Although they had no clear policy over what to do about the black majority, by South African standards the United Party was considered moderate in its treatment and views of the African problem.
United Party domination of South African politics ended in when the National Party won that year's elections. Voting then was limited to whites.Some of this article's listed sources may not be reliable.
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Indoors, a game of cards or billiards, seen here in an eighteenth-century English print by Henry Bunbury, prompted friendly competition at the local tavern.
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