The history of South Africa starts more than 100,000 years ago, when the first humans inhabited the region. The discoveries also led to new conflicts culminating in open warfare between the Boer settlers and imperial Britain, fought essentially for control over the nascent South African mining industry. The country became a nation state within the British Empire in 1934 following enactment of the Status of the Union Act. The dominion came to an end on 31 May 1961 in consequence of a 1960 referendum, from 1948 to 1994, South African politics were dominated by Afrikaner nationalism. It was an extension of segregationist legislation enacted in 1960, since then the ANC has dominated the politics of the country in an uneasy alliance with the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions. It was inhabited by Australopithecines since at least 2.5 million years ago, Modern human settlement occurred around 125,000 years ago in the Middle Stone Age, as shown by archaeological discoveries at Klasies River Caves. The first human habitation is associated with a DNA group originating in a area of southern Africa. At the Blombos cave Professor Raymond Dart discovered the skull of a 2.51 million year old Taung Child in 1924, in further research at the Blombos cave in 2002, stones were discovered engraved with grid or cross-hatch patterns, dated to some 70,000 years ago. This has been interpreted as the earliest example ever discovered of abstract art or symbolic art created by Homo sapiens, many more species of early hominid have come to light in recent decades. The oldest is Little Foot, a collection of footbones of an unknown hominid between 2.2 and 3.3 million years old, discovered at Sterkfontein by Ronald J. Clarke. An important recent find was that of 1.9 million year old Australopithecus sediba, in 2015, the discovery near Johannesburg of a previously unknown species of Homo was announced, named Homo naledi. It has been described as one of the most important paleontological discoveries in modern times, the descendants of the Middle Paleolithic populations are thought to be the aboriginal San and Khoikhoi tribes. The San and Khoikhoi are grouped under the term Khoisan, and are distinguished only by their respective occupations. Whereas the San were hunter-gathers, the Khoikhoi were pastoral herders, archaeological discoveries of livestock bones on the Cape Peninsula indicate that the Khoikhoi began to settle there by about 2000 years ago. In the late 15th and early 16th centuries, Portuguese mariners, later, English and Dutch seafarers in the late 16th and 17th centuries exchanged metals for cattle and sheep with the Khoikhoi. The initial origin of the Khoikhoi remains uncertain, the establishment of the staging post by the Dutch East India Company at the Cape in 1652 soon brought the Khoikhoi into conflict with Dutch settlers over land ownership. Cattle rustling and livestock theft ensued, with the Khoikhoi being ultimately expelled from the peninsula by force, the first Khoikhoi-Dutch War broke out in 1659, the second in 1673, and the third 1674–1677. The disease had brought to the Cape by Dutch sailors
Statue of Bartolomeu Dias at the High Commission of South Africa in London. He was the first European navigator to sail around the southernmost tip of Africa.
Looking out over the floodplains of the Luvuvhu River (right) and the Limpopo River (far distance and left)