Bantu-speaking inhabitants faced
a permanent presence of European settlers for the first time in
1652 when the Dutch established a colony at the Cape of Good Hope.
In 1795 the British landed forcing the Boers north, a development
which would eventually lead to the Boer War a century later.
1994, five years after the Apartheid system was dismantled, the
country returned to black majority rule with the election of Nelson
London-born explorer Mary Kingsley
died in 1900 while working as a nurse during the Second Boer War.
In 1893 and 1895 she had made two expeditions to West Africa, becoming
the first European to travel in the area.
molecular biologist Sydney
Brenner was born in Germiston in 1927. He became
a British citizen and in 2002 shared the Nobel
Prize for Physiology or Medicine with the English scientist
John Sulston and the American H. Robert Horovitz for their research
In 2005 the Vredefort
Dome was designated a World
Heritage Site. The site marks the impact of a meteor which
hit earth over 2,000 million years ago creating a crater with
a radius of 190 kilometres. It therefore represents the oldest
and largest evidence of such an event which would have had a
dramatic effect across the globe.
Hominid Sites of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans and Kromdraas
were designated a World Heritage Site in 1999.
In 2003 the Mapungubwe
Cultural Landscape was designated
a World Heritage Site and was until the 14th century the location
of the largest kingdom on the continent.
In 2007 the Richtersveld
Cultural and Botanical Landscape
was designated a World Heritage Site. South Africa's 8th site
to be designated is an area of mountainous desert covering
160,000 hectares in the north-east of the country.
Island, the prison where Nelson Mandela and other political
prisoners were held during the Apartheid regime, was designated
a World Heritage Site in 1999.
Floral Region was designated a World Heritage Site in
2004 and is made up of eight protected areas covering over
half a million hectares of land.
author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit J.R.R.
Tolkien, was born as John Ronald Reuel Tolkien in Bloemfontein