Cape Province

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The Province of the Cape of Good Hope[1] (commonly referred to simply as the Cape Province) was a province in the Union of South Africa and subsequently the Republic of South Africa. It encompassed the old Cape Colony, and had Cape Town as its capital.

It was created in 1910 when the Union of South Africa was formed, and included the original Cape Colony and other regions such as British Bechuanaland (not to be confused with the Bechuanaland Protectorate, now Botswana), Griqualand East (the area around Kokstad) and Griqualand West (area around Kimberley). This gave the Cape Province an area similar in size to the U.S. state of Texas.[2]

At the time of the formation of the Union of South Africa the entire region now called South Africa was only four provinces: Transvaal (South African Republic), Natal (Natalia Republic), Orange Free State and the Cape Province.

During the apartheid era the country was chopped up into a number of additional pieces which were known as the four TBVC States and the six Non-Independent Homelands.

After the first fully democratic elections in 1994 all the pieces were put together again and divided into what are now the current nine provinces of South Africa. Walvis Bay was handed to Namibia.

Griqualand East was transferred to Natal Province after the Transkei was declared independent, since it was cut off from the rest of the province. The Transkei (1976) and Ciskei (1981) regions were declared independent of South Africa, after they were formerly part of the Cape Province. (They were re-incorporated into South Africa in 1994, both part of the new Eastern Cape province)

It was the only province where coloureds (mixed-race people) could vote, although this right was removed by the apartheid government in 1956. The government had to incorporate many extra senators in parliament to force through this change.

Since 1994, it has been broken up into three smaller provinces: the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape. Parts of the Cape Province were also absorbed into the North West.

See also


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