Although South Africa has only been a union since 1910 and an independent country since 1961 its immigrant history spans three and a half centuries. South Africa’s historical birth is 1652, when the Dutch landed at the Cape of Good Hope to establish a way-station to assist ships en-route to the East. From these humble beginning South Africa has developed into a diverse nation that is the home to thousands of immigrants and their descendants from all over the world.
Historically, South Africa was occupied first by the Netherlands administration from 1652-1795; where the population grew from a mere nine original farmers in 1657 to over ten thousand inhabitants by 1780. This increase occurred not only because of Dutch immigrants, but also because of the assisted immigration of French Huguenots by the Dutch East India Company.
South Africa was later taken over by the British Administration, as the Netherlands was under the control of the French, and as such the Netherlands were allies to France in the Napoleonic Wars against Great Britain. Great Britain remained in control of the Cape from from 1795, with a brief interruption between 1803-1806, with the rule of the Dutch Batavian Republic, until the Union of South Africa was formed in 1910. The British Administration brought about a great population increase- by the end of the 19th century the population was nearing six million.
Today, the Republic of South Africa has an estimated population of over 46 million. While it is a third world country it is the most developed of all the African countries and is a popular tourist destination.
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