Political map of Sub-Saharan Africa on 31 May 1910 (The Scramble for Africa: Union of South Africa), showing the following events: Adrar Campaign; French Equatorial Africa; Union of South Africa.

Union of South Africa

The Scramble for Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa 1910.0531

Union of South Africa

European imperialism in Africa (31 May 1910)

Historical Map of Sub-Saharan Africa

In the wake of the Second Boer War (1899-1902), the British encouraged a tighter union between the old British colonies of the Cape of Good Hope and Natal and the two former Boer republics of Transvaal and Orange River Colony. This vision was realized in 1910, when all four colonies united to form the Union of South Africa. A self-governing dominion, this new South Africa was run almost exclusively by its White minority - in particular the Boers/Afrikaners, who were more numerous than the English-speaking Whites.

Main Events

Adrar Campaign

In late 1908 a French expedition under the command of Colonel Henri Gouraud advanced from St Louis, Senegal, north into Mauritania to suppress the restive Emirate of Adrar. After capturing the key town of Atar in January, Gouraud was unable to compel the Adrar to meet him in open battle until he occupied the palm groves of the region and thereby threatened their food supply. Provoked, the Adrar launched a full-scale attack on the French in July, only to be defeated and chased north into the desert.

French Equatorial Africa

The French colonies of Gabon, Middle Congo, and Ubangi-Shari-Chad were united to form the colonial federation of French Equatorial Africa. Brazzaville, Middle Congo, was designated as the capital of the federation and Martial Henri Merlin was made Governor-General.

Union of South Africa

On 20 September 1909 the South Africa Act was passed by the British Parliament and given royal assent by King Edward VII of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. On 31 May of the following year, in accordance with the act, the Union of South Africa was formed from the British colonies of the Cape of Good Hope, Natal, Orange River Colony, and Transvaal. As a compromise over disagreements of the location of the capital, the administration was seated in Pretoria (Transvaal) while Parliament was held in Cape Town (Cape of Good Hope). The union was also bilingual, with both Dutch and English as official languages. A self-governing dominion, the new state was run almost exclusively by its White minority - in particular the Boers/Afrikaners, who were more numerous than the English-speaking Whites.

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