Unie van Suid-Afrika
Union of South Africa

Dominion of the ‌British Empire
Flag of None
Flag of None
Flag of None
Flag of None
1910–1961 Flag of the Union of South Africa
Flag of the Union of South Africa Coat of Arms of the Union of South Africa
Ex Unitate Vires
Die Stem van Suid-Afrika
Map of the Union of South Africa
CapitalCape Town
Government Constitutional monarchy
Legislature Parliament
- Upper houseSenate
- Lower houseHouse of Assembly
May 31, 1910Union
December 11, 1931Statute of Westminster
May 31, 1961Republic
Commonwealth accessionDecember 11, 1931
Area2,045,320 km²
- 196118,216,000
CurrencySouth African pound
Flag of None Cape Colony
Flag of None Colony of Natal
Flag of None Orange River Colony
Flag of None Transvaal Colony
South Africa Flag of the Union of South Africa

The Union of South Africa (1910-1961) was a constitutional monarchy in Southern Africa. It was also one of the Commonwealth realms.


While the Union parliament has full power to make laws for the whole of the Union, to provincial councils have been delegated the immediate control of affairs relating solely to the provinces. The subjects delegated to the councils include direct taxation within the provinces for local revenue purposes, the borrowing of money (on the sole credit of the provinces) with the consent of the ministry; agriculture (within the limits defined by parliament) and municipal institutions, divisional councils, and other local institutions. The control of elementary education was also guaranteed to the provincial councils up to 1915, and thereafter until parliament otherwise provides.

The councils consist of not fewer than 25 members and not more than the number of members returned by the province to the House of Assembly. Each councillor represents a separate constituency, these constituencies, as far as possible, to be the same as the parliamentary constituencies. (In the Cape and Transvaal provinces they were the same in 19to; Natal and Orange Free State returning only 17 members to the House of Assembly, the parliamentary constituencies have been rearranged.) The qualifications for electors are the same as for parliament, and any person qualified to vote is qualified to be a member of the council. As in the Cape province coloured persons are qualified to vote, they are thus also qualified to be members of the provincial council. Any member of the provincial council who becomes a member of either House of Parliament thereupon ceases to be a member of such provincial council. Each provincial council continues for three years from the date of its first meeting and is not subject to dissolution save by effluxion of time.

The executive power in each province is invested in an officer appointed by the government and styled provincial administrator. He holds office for five years. The administrator is assisted by an executive committee of four persons elected from among its own members, or otherwise, by the provincial council on the proportional representation principle. The administrator and any other member of the executive committee, not being a member of the council, has the right to take part in the proceedings of the council, but has not the right to vote. The provincial councils have not the right to make laws, but ordinances, which must receive the assent of the governor-general in council before becoming valid.[1]

History Edit

The history of South Africa is, almost entirely, that of its colonization by European races, of their conflicts with, and influence over, its native inhabitants, and of the struggle for supremacy between the British and Dutch settlers. The little that is known concerning the doings of the natives before the appearance of the white man belongs to the domain of ethnology rather than of history. When the Portuguese first reached the southern part of Africa there was but one place in it where a civilized race held sway. This was at Sofala, the most southerly post of the East African Arabs. From that port the Arabs traded for ivory, slaves and (principally) gold with Bantu peoples of the far interior - the Southern Rhodesia of today. These natives, whose earliest existing buildings may go back to the time of the Norman Conquest, were in a higher state of development than the Bushmen and Hottentots living farther south. The part played by the various native races in modifying the character of the European colonization will be best considered as they successively came into contact with the white settlers. At this point it is only necessary to state that at the same time as the Europeans were slowly extending northward from the south-western point of the continent, a conquering race of Bantu negro stock, originating from somewhere beyond the Zambezi, was spreading southward along the western side of the country.[1]


British Empire


  1. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.)

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