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Formed in 1994 out of the "independent" Xhosa homelands of Transkei and Ciskei, together with the eastern portion of the Cape Province, The Eastern Cape region is the birthplace of many prominent South African politicians, such as Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, Chris Hani, Thabo Mbeki, Steve Biko, Bantu Holomisa and Charles Coghlan. It’s one of the nine South African provinces. Its capital is Bhisho, but the two largest cities in the province are Port Elizabeth and East London. The province is 168 966 km2 in size.
The province was landing place and home of the 1820 settlers; the central and eastern part of the province is the traditional home of the Xhosa people. With a population of 6,786, 900; 78.8% of this population speak isiXhosa, 10.6% speaks Afrikaans and 5.6% speaks English. The province makes a good 13.9% involvement to the overall South African population. The Eastern Cape has a Gross Regional Product of R203.9 billion and contributes 7.7% of the South African GDP. The province is one of the poorest provinces in South Africa. This is largely due to the poverty found in the former homelands, where subsistence agriculture predominates.
The Eastern Cape has a coastline on its east which lines southward, creating shores leading to the South Indian Ocean. Most of the province is hilly to very mountainous with the exception of the coast which is rugged with interspersed beaches. The highest point in the province is Ben Macdhui at 3001m.