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South Africa


Introduction: Dutch traders landed at the southern tip of modern day South Africa in 1652 and established a stopover point on the spice route between the Netherlands and the Far East, founding the city of Cape Town. 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); however, the British and the Afrikaners, as the Boers became known, ruled...

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Foreign Policy: South Africa is the economic and political powerhouse of southern Africa and plays a leading role in Africa's regional and international agendas, including through the African Union, the New Partnership for African Development and the Southern African Development Community. In 1994, following the end of the apartheid era, South Africa resumed its seat in the UN General Assembly, rejoined the Commonwealth, and became an active and leading member of the Non-Aligned Movement. South Africa began a two-year term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in January 2007.

South Africa has been important in ...

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History: People have inhabited southern Africa for thousands of years. Members of the Khoisan language groups are the oldest surviving inhabitants of the land, but only a few are left in South Africa today -- and they are located in the western sections. Most of today's black South Africans belong to the Bantu language group, which migrated south from central Africa, settling in the Transvaal region ...

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International Relations: South Africa rapidly reintegrated into the international community after the isolation of the apartheid years. It was readmitted to the Commonwealth in 1994 and hosted the annual Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Durban in November 1999. South Africa was Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) from August 1998 to March 2003. It hosted the inaugural meeting of the African Union (AU) in July 2002 and was the first Chair, and is a key member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

South Africa joined other African and Asian countries in signing the New Africa Asia Strategic Partnership in Jakarta on ...

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During four days in April 1994, more than 19 million South Africans, roughly 91 percent of registered voters, went to the polls, most for the first time, and elected South Africa's first democratic government. The establishment of a government led by the African National Congress (ANC), under the presidency of Nelson Mandela, signaled emphatically the demise of apartheid and the return of South ...

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Area Handbook Series
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