The Republic of South Africa, situated at the southern part of the African continent, was founded on 31 May 1961, away from British rule and introduced a decimal coin series as a result. However, the predecessor of the Republic was the Union of South Africa, formed on 31 May 1910 out of 4 British Colonies: The Transvaal, Free State, Cape Colony and Natal. The first Europeans, the Dutch (1652-1795, 1803-1806), settled in the Cape in 1652, after which the English came (1795-1803, 1806-1960). Today, after the democratic elections of 1994, South Arica has three Capitols, Pretoria as the executive, Cape Town as the Legislative and Bloemfontein as the judicial. In 1923 the first coins in the Pound Sterling series were issued, depicting the British Monarch. Like all Pound sterling series, 12 Pennies make a Shilling and 20 Shillings a Pound. With the introduction of the decimal series in 1961, decimal coins of equal size and value to the Pound series were produced to ease the transition (1961 to 1964). In 1965 the second decimal series were introduced, radically reducing the size of the coins. In 1989/90 the current and third decimal series of coins were introduced, again reducing size, introducing a circulation 2 Rand coin for the first time and the first 5 Rand coin to follow in 1994. The Kruger Rand, made of pure gold, was the first (starting in 1967) international investment coin produced worldwide, and is still very popular. The country has 11 official languages (resulting in 10 different spellings of the name South Africa), and these are rotated on the coins from year to year. With a size of 1,221,037 km² (471,445 square miles) it is the 24th largest country in the world, boasting a population of more than 57 million people. South Africa is the birthplace of the legendary Nelson Mandela, who served as president from 1994 to 1999.
See also: South Africa (pre-Union)