South Africa

A Parliamentary Republic sitting at the bottom of Africa and covering almost half a million square miles was a barren land named in 1488 by the Portugals King John 2nd “Cape of Good Hope”, although the mariners called it “Cape of Storms”.

The Dutch in 1652 established a Trading Post & Naval Victualing Station to act as a secure port for Dutch merchantmen running the Europe to Asia route. The British took Dutch settlements as prizes in 1815 after the Napoleonic war, made it a Crown colony because of it’s strategic importance pushing the Boer settlers further inland. The Boers made new settlements on their migration Northwards notably the South African Republic, the Orange Free State & Transvaal. While the British consolidated and established British Bechuanaland, Zululand, Griqualand West & Natal.

Diamonds and Gold were found around 1880 on Boer lands and although the British had tolerated the Boers the new found wealth made them a potential threat and from 1880 to 1902 two Anglo-Boer wars were fought before the British conquered them.

In 1910, Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Natal and Transvaal formed the Union of South Africa that restricted the rights of non-whites leading to in 1948 the Apartheid policies and establishment of the “Homelands” for non-whites. In April 1994 these “Homelands” were incorporated into South Africa.

The first stamps were issued in 1853, a 1d & 4d triangular in shape inscribed Cape of Good Hop. Natal followed with an issue in 1857, the Orange Free State’s first issue was 1868 and Transvaal in 1869.

These four States formed in 1910 the Union of South Africa with a stamp issued to Commemorate Opening of Union Parliament on 4 November 1910 followed by the first definitive issues in 1913 although the provisional issues of the four states were valid until 1938.

WW2 saw the introduction of Wartime economy half size Bantam stamps to conserve paper and these are popular.