The centenary of Union

Cherry, Micheal (2010-06)

The original publication is available at


It would not be right for this journal to ignore the fact that on 31 May 1910, a century ago, the Union of South Africa came into being. That date saw the birth of the country in which we live today. Before then there were, in what is now South Africa, four separate states: the Cape Colony, Natal, the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony and it was those four British colonies that were combined in 1910 to create one new country. When the term ‘South Africa’ was used before 31 May 1910, it described the geographical region, not a single country. That the name of the region then became the name of the country remains confusing and this has resulted in the use of the term ‘southern Africa’ for the region, in order to distinguish it from the country.

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