Officially recognized as the Republic of South Africa, South Africa is a country that has a coastline measuring 1,739 miles or 2,798 kilometers along the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean. It is close to other countries like Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The other nations close to this country are Lesotho, Botswana and Namibia. Some of its most popular cities are Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria. Aside from these highly interesting details, it is nice to know something about the history of this country including who discovered South Africa.
The Discovery of South Africa
Who discovered South Africa? A Portuguese explorer named Bartolomeu Dias discovered the southernmost part of Africa in 1487, which is known today as the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. The purpose of that particular exploration was to locate an efficient trade route to India. Before that, it was named the Cape of Storms, which was later renamed by the King of Portugal John II to the Cape of Good Hope or Cabo da Boa Esperanca.
Additional Facts and Other Interesting Details
On behalf of the Dutch East India Company, Jan van Riebeeck founded a refreshment station within the Cape of Good Hope. In 1795, the area was overtaken by Great Britain. The purpose of that move was to prevent the place from falling under the control of the Revolutionary French. It became an interim port for the long voyages of its merchants. It was then returned to the Dutch in 1803.
In 1867, diamonds were discovered in the area. In 1884, gold was also found in the land. These major developments contributed to the rise of immigration. More importantly, they led to economic growth. On May 31, 1910, the Natal and Cape colonies were officially converted into the Union of South Africa. It became part of a British dominion.
With the passage of the Stature of Westminster in 1931, the United Kingdom granted independence to the union. Three years after, the National Party and the South African Party merged into the United Party. Apartheid became a major problem in the country, which eventually led to oppression, growing unrest as well as international sanctions. A nuclear weapons development program was started in the country in the latter parts of the 1970s. Under the National Party, the government started to dismantle discrimination in 1990. As part of the move, the ban on other political organizations and the African National Congress was lifted.
In recent years, the rate of unemployment increased as part of post-apartheid South Africa. The current leaders of the land were unsuccessful in redistributing economic growth and wealth. Fiscal discipline has become one of the growing concerns of the government.