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British Empire

Page 7 – Union of South Africa


South African flag

1914 Map

Map of the Union of South Africa

Click on map for more detail

General facts

  • Population: 6 million (1914)
  • Capitals:
    Cape Town (legislative)
    Pretoria (administrative)
    Bloemfontein (judicial)
    Pietermaritzburg (archival) 


  • Head of State: King George V (6 May 1910 – 20 January 1936)
  • Prime Minister: General Louis Botha (31 May 1910 – 27 August 1919)

Participation in War

  • Entered the war: 4 August 1914 (British Empire declared war on Germany) - South Africa declared support on 14 September 
  • Ceased hostilities: 11 November 1918 (armistice with Germany)
  • Ended belligerent status: 10 August 1920 (Treaty of Sèvres signed with Ottoman Empire)

Military forces and casualties

This section is a work in progress

According to Wikipedia: 'More than 146,000 whites, 83,000 blacks and 2,500 people of mixed race ("Coloureds") and Asians served in South African military units during the war, including 43,000 in German South-West Africa and 30,000 on the Western Front. An estimated 3,000 South Africans also joined the Royal Flying Corps.

The total South African casualties during the war was about 18,600 with over 12,452 killed – more than 4,600 in the European theater alone.'

See also: The First World War - Episode 3, Global War (YouTube)

How to cite this page

Union of South Africa, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated