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 Free State

Known as the Orange Free State before 1995, The Free State is a South African province with Bloemfontein as its capital, which is also South Africa's judicial capital. Its historical origins lie in the Orange Free State Boer republic and later Orange Free State Province. The current borders of the province were made in 1994 when the Bantustans were abolished and reincorporated into South Africa. It is also the only one out of the four original provinces of South Africa not to undergo border changes, excluding the reincorporation of Bantustans.

free state

With over 64% speaking, Sesotho is the dominant home language in most of the province, followed by Afrikaans (12.7%), at 7.5% isiXhosa. It is the only province in the country with a Sesotho majority. Afrikaans is widely spoken throughout the province, as a first language for the majority of whites and coloureds and as a second or third language by Sesotho, Setswana and isiZulu speakers. Although the numbers of first language English speakers are relatively low, it is becoming increasingly important as the language of business and government. This is further evidenced by the shift of tertiary institutions such as the University of the Free State from Afrikaans to a dual English/Afrikaans medium of instruction. Sized 129 825 km2 (which is 10.6% stake of South Africa), with a population of 2,786,800; The Free State has a Gross Regional Product of R145.5 billion and make a 5.5% stake of the South African GDP.

The province has rich soil and pleasant climate which allows for a flourishing agricultural industry. With more than 30,000 farms, which produce over 70% of the country's grain, it is known locally as South Africa's breadbasket. The Free State is the granary of South Africa, with agriculture central to its economy, while mining on the rich goldfields reef is its largest employer.

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