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South Africa is located to the southern most region of Africa; it occupies an area of 471,443 sq miles, in the southern hemisphere. It is bound by the South Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by the Indian Ocean to the East, thus endowing the country with a long coastline stretching more than 1,553 km. South Africa has mild temperate to semi arid climate.
The natives from San, Khoikhoi and Bantu tribes inhabited South Africa for thousand of years. It was around 1652 that the Dutch East India Company founded the present Cape Town. Following this, the French, Germany, English, settlers began to establish their settlements in the Cape. By 1795, Cape Town was seized by the British and though the colony was returned to the Dutch in 1803, it was recaptured by the British in 1806. Between 1816 and 1826, Zulu Empire was founded and it expanded between 1835 and1881; the Cape Colony (Town) was left by the Boers (African farmers) and they established the Orange Free State and Transvaal.
In 1867 diamond was discovered in the country and in 1886, gold was discovered, which attracted the British traders. In 1879, British defeated the Zulus, by 1880-1881, the first Anglo-Boers War was fought, and in 1899, the second war between Boers and British was fought. To end the war, in 1902 a peace treaty was signed called the Treaty of Vereeniging and in 1910, the former colonies joined to form the Union of Africa.
In 1961, South Africa was declared a republic and in 1994, the first democratic election based on universal adult suffrage was held. The largest economy of the African continent, South Africa, has been contributing substantially (about 24%) to Africa's GDP. Post the 1994 democratic election, the country's economic policies have been reformed, with a focus on creating job opportunities and opening the market to foreign investments.
South Africa also has a strong financial system; the energy and communication sector are strong and the country has an abundance of natural resources, which make the country economic super power. The major challenge that the South African economy faces is a high rate of unemployment and inequality between rich and the poor. During the global recession of the past decade, also South Africa suffered economically; however, with the help of private and public consumption growth, the economy has recovered. South Africa's GDP as of 2011 is US $422 billion.
South Africa is one of the preferred tourist destinations of Africa. Magnificent landscapes, old archeological sites, vast coasts, sandy beaches, sunny and pleasant climate attract millions of visitors every year, to this southern-most country of Africa. Some of the major cities like Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, etc. attract hoards of tourists. From sports enthusiasts to nature lovers South Africa has something for everyone. Children and adults alike find it a destination of their choice.
Last Update On : November 20, 2013
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