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South Africa

Officially known as the Republic of South Africa, South Africa is on the southern tip of the continent of Africa, It is home to the sites of the oldest human fossils ever found, and has been called 'the cradle of mankind'. The first known culture to inhabit the land was the Xhosa.
The area was first explored by Europeans in 1487, by Bartolomeu Dias. In 1652, John Van Riebeek established a trading port that would eventually become Cape town. Over time, British, Dutch, Flemish, and German settlers made their home around the port, integrating native customs, agricultural practices, livestock, and occasionally, native people, as workers, into their lives and livelihoods. These became known as Boers. The Boers fought several wars against the British for mineral rights and control of the area. Soon Britain took over Cape Town so the French couldn't claim the area now that France has taken over the Dutch Republic.
Eventually, though, Britain was forced to hand over the area to the Dutch Bavarian Republic in 1803. While under Dutch control, the Boers founded the Boer Republic, which would later become a province in South Africa. The British changed their mind, however, three years later and retook the area, banning the slave trade a year after that and banning slavery itself in 1833. Two wars with the Boers against the British ensued; in the First Boer War, 1880-1881, the Boers defeated the British through superior tactics while in the Second Boer War, the British won with superior firepower and tactics, The country became independent, as nationalism from the natives and Voortrekkers (later name for the Boers), and a push against land laws and segregation accompanied the ideas.
The country was granted independence in 1931. It created a harsh system of apartheid to keep blacks subordinate to people of European ancestry. Nelson Mandela became an international hero for his part in the peaceful ending of apartheid in 1994. In a 1999-2000 survey, South Africa ranked second in murder, rapes, and assault per capita. An estimated 500 thousand women are raped every year. Child and baby rapes are highest in South Africa due to the Virgin Cleansing Myth involving AIDS.
The country has 11 official languages. Most of the country is arid steppe or the Namib Desert, yet there is a verdant green area of the country that receives constant rainfall, known as the Garden Route. Despite most vegetation only growing in a narrow strip of land, 10% of all species of plants live in South Africa.

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