Western Cape

province of SW South Africa: 49,950 sq mi (129,370 sq km); pop. 3,633,000; cap. Cape Town

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 province, South Africa, situated in the southern extremity of the African continent. The provincial capital, Cape Town, is also the country's legislative capital. Western Cape province was part of former Cape of Good Hope (Cape Province) province until 1994. Coastline fronting the Atlantic and Indian oceans forms Western Cape's western and southern boundaries, respectively. The province borders Northern Cape province to the north and Eastern Cape province to the east.

 Western Cape province lies just to the south of the great interior plateau (Highveld) of southern Africa. The southward edges of this plateau form a conspicuous rocky escarpment extending roughly along the northern border of the province. The central part of the province consists of the semiarid plateaus of the Karoo region, which are separated by east-west-running mountain ranges—including the Great Swart Mountains—and extend as far south as the Lange Mountains. The narrow coastal zone south and west of the Karoo has varied relief from which the sandy Cape Columbine extends to the west and the rocky Cape of Good Hope (Good Hope, Cape of) extends to the southwest, where the flat-topped Table Mountain (Mountain, Table), overlooking Cape Town and Table Bay, is a prominent landmark. The province is drained by the Olifants, Berg, Breë, Gourtis, and other small rivers. Western Cape boasts a rich diversity of plant life; several sites that compose the Cape Floral Region Protected Areas (designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004) are located here.

      A maritime climate and accompanying vegetation are found in the coastal regions. Much of the remainder of the land to the north has a Mediterranean climate changing to semiarid farther north. The mean annual precipitation over most of the province amounts to less than 15 inches (380 mm), and areas of the northwest receive less than 5 inches (125 mm). Inland daily maximum temperatures usually range from 68 °F (20 °C) in winter (July) to 90 °F (32 °C) in summer (February).

      About one-half of the province's population is of mixed ethnicity (formerly referred to as “ Coloured” under apartheid), one-fourth black, and one-fifth white. The remaining population is Asian of mostly Indian descent. Almost all of the population is urban, concentrated for the most part in the city of Cape Town. Afrikaans (Afrikaans language) is the most widely spoken language, followed by Xhosa (Xhosa language) and English (English language). Many other African languages are also spoken by a small percentage of the population.

      Western Cape has a strong agricultural sector. Much of South Africa's wool, wheat, alfalfa (lucerne) hay, and fruit (including apples, pears, apricots, and peaches) comes from Western Cape province, as does almost all of its wine. The interior is a sheep-raising region. Ostrich raising is prominent in the province, and ostrich meat and feathers are exported. The area also enjoys a steady export trade in fresh fruit, table grapes, wine, brandy, and canned goods. Timber is a valuable product in the area east of Mossel Bay on the south coast.

      Rich Atlantic fishing grounds, ranging from Cape Agulhas to as far north as Namibia, supply an important fish meal and canning industry. The province's manufacturing industries include textiles, clothing, footwear, motor vehicles, tires, fertilizers, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals, along with marine engineering and ship repair. The province's mineral resources are not extensive.

      There are universities at Cape Town, Stellenbosch, and Bellville. Cape Town has numerous libraries and museums—including the South African Museum (founded 1825). Robben Island, the location of an infamous prison and now a museum (designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999), is located 5 miles (8 km) west of the mainland. Traveling companies sponsored by Artscape (formerly the Cape Performing Arts Board) stage theatrical and ballet performances throughout the province. Area 49,950 square miles (129,370 square km). Pop. (2006 est.) 4,745,500.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Western Cape — province of SW South Africa: 49,950 sq mi (129,370 sq km); pop. 3,633,000; cap. Cape Town …   English World dictionary

  • Western Cape —   [ westən keɪp, englisch], Provinz der Republik Südafrika, West Kap …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Western Cape — Cap Occidental Wes Kaap Western Cape Ntshona Koloni (Cap Occidental) Localisation de la province du Cap Occidental (en vert clair) à l intérieur de l Afrique du Sud …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Western Cape — Admin ASC 1 Code Orig. name Western Cape Country and Admin Code ZA.11 ZA …   World countries Adminstrative division ASC I-II

  • Western Cape — /wɛstən ˈkeɪp/ (say westuhn kayp) noun a province in the Republic of South Africa in the south western part, created in 1994 by the division of the former Cape province. 129 386 km2. Capital: Cape Town …   Australian English dictionary

  • Western Cape — or Wes Kaap geographical name province SW Republic of South Africa area 49,950 square miles (129,370 square kilometers), population 3,635,000 …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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  • Western Cape Education Department — Department overview Formed 1994 Preceding agencies Cape Department of Education House of Representatives Department of Education and Culture Department of Education and Training House of Delegates Department of Education and Culture Jurisdiction… …   Wikipedia

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