The Republic of South Africa is located on the southern tip of the African continent, bordered on the north by Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe and on the east by Mozambique and Swaziland. South Africa has the largest economy as well as the largest population of European and Indian ancestry in Africa.
Originally settled by the Dutch, the southernmost area of Cape Town was captured by the British in 1795. When gold and diamonds were discovered in the interior, the British conquered the white Afrikaner colonies of Transvaal and Orange Free State in the Boer Wars, lasting from 1880 to 1902. The south African colonies were united in 1910 as a British dominion. South Africa declared independence in 1961. The South African government's policy of apartheid led to international sanctions in the 1980s, and in response, a government of racial unity was formed in 1994.
South African Silver Coins
South Africa used Dutch, then British coins in their colonial era. The first domestically produced silver coins were minted in 1892 by the Boer state of Zuid Afrikaansche Republik, later known as Transvaal. When the former Boer states and Cape Colony were combined into the Union of South Africa, their coinage mimicked that of Great Britain. The first silver Union coinage was minted in 1923, at 800 fineness. In 1951, the purity changed to 500 fineness.
In 1961, South Africa switched to a decimal coinage, the Rand. Coins were continued in silver until 1965. Like many nations, South Africa today produces silver and gold commemoratives, and is famous for inventing the modern bullion coin by introducing the Krugerrand.