In 1910 South Africa was united for the first time into a single nation known as the union of South Africa. The majority of blacks, along with white women, were denied the vote. Racial segregation became the official policy throughout the Union and laid the foundation for apartheid. The two dominant politicians at the time, Jan Smuts and J B M Hertzog, were the architects of segregation. The new state was immediately confronted by opposition from several quarters such as the South African Native National Congress (later known as the ANC), the white miner strikes (from 1913 to 1922) and the first Trade Union (the ICU). Much of this opposition was suppressed by force.

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