Free State

1. U.S. Hist. (before the Civil War) a state in which slavery was prohibited.

* * *

      province, east-central Republic of South Africa. Under the name Orange Free State, it was originally a Boer state and then (from 1910) one of the traditional provinces of South Africa; it was renamed Free State in 1995. Free State is bordered on the north by North-West, Gauteng, and Mpumalanga provinces, on the east by KwaZulu-Natal province and the independent state of Lesotho, on the south by Eastern Cape province, and on the west by Northern Cape province. The provincial capital, Bloemfontein, is also the national judicial capital.

      The province is located on the Highveld, a plateau rising to elevations of 6,000 feet (1,800 m) in the east and sloping to about 4,000 feet (1,200 m) in the west. Two streams drain the province: the upper Orange River, which forms the province's southern boundary, and the Vaal River, part of its northern boundary. The climate varies from warm and temperate with an annual rainfall of 40 inches (1,020 mm) in the east to semiarid with rainfall of only 15 inches (380 mm) in the far west. Mean annual surface temperatures gradually increase from about 58° F (14° C) in the east to 62° F (17° C) in the west. Frost is common over the entire province from May to September, and, because rainfall is unreliable, long periods of drought are frequent.

      Blacks make up more than three-fourths of the province's population, whites less than one-tenth. More than three-fifths of the population speak Sotho, and about one-tenth speak Afrikaans. Several other languages are also spoken. A large proportion of whites live in cities and towns, while the majority of blacks reside in rural areas.

      Free State possesses sizable deposits of diamonds, coal, and bentonite. Much of the coal is transformed into oil and other petroleum products at Sasolburg. The province produces about two-fifths of South Africa's corn (maize), and wheat is also an important crop. Undulating plains provide excellent grazing for sheep, and the Free State produces about one-sixth of South Africa's wool.

      Free State is predominantly rural, and the more austere and moralistic aspects of the Afrikaner character are probably more in evidence here than elsewhere. Black culture is still strongly influenced by tribal life; the supremacy of chiefs is recognized, and the heritage of traditional animist religion is still evident despite the influence of Christianity.

      The University of the Free State (1904) is located in Bloemfontein. Free State is also home to Vredefort Dome, the world's oldest and largest meteorite impact site, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005. Area 49,993 square miles (129,480 square km). Pop. (2005 est.) 2,953,100.

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Free state — can refer to:* Free state (government), a type of loosely defined government. Historical examples include: ** Congo Free State ** Free State of Fiume ** Irish Free State ** Articles about German Free States after World War I: *** Free State of… …   Wikipedia

  • Free State — Vrystaat Freistaat Wappen Basisdaten Hauptstadt: Bloemfontein Fläche: Rang: in % Südafrikas …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Free State — the Free State a ↑province of South Africa, in the area south of Johannesburg and west of Lesotho, whose capital city is Bloemfontein. It used to be called the Orange Free State, and it was an independent state in the 19th century, but became… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Free State — Free′ State n. 1) amh. (before the Civil War) a state in which slavery was prohibited 2) why Irish Free State …   From formal English to slang

  • free state — ☆ free state n. any state of the U.S. in which slavery was forbidden before the Civil War …   English World dictionary

  • Free State — The Free State is a province of South Africa. The name is a popular contraction of the previous name the Orange Free State. Its capital is Bloemfontein which is also South Africa s judicial capital. On 9 June 1995 its name was changed from Orange …   Wikipedia

  • Free State — /ˈfri steɪt/ (say free stayt) noun 1. a province in the central Republic of South Africa; a Boer republic, 1854–1900; a British colony (Orange River Colony), 1900–10. 129 437 km2. Capital: Bloemfontein. Formerly (until 1995), Orange Free State. 2 …   Australian English dictionary

  • Free State — noun 1. a Mid Atlantic state; one of the original 13 colonies • Syn: ↑Maryland, ↑Old Line State, ↑MD • Instance Hypernyms: ↑American state • Part Holonyms: ↑United States, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • free state — noun a) A political entity whose political status is less than that of a fully sovereign nation state, as with the former Congo Free State and the former Irish Free State. b) A Federal state, with allegiance to a larger entity, as currently with… …   Wiktionary

  • Free State — I. noun Date: 1819 a state of the United States in which slavery was prohibited before the Civil War II. geographical name or Vrystaat or formerly Orange Free State province E central Republic of South Africa between Orange & Vaal rivers area… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.