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The Union of South Africa was a self-governing Dominion of the British Empire, and was later a member of the Commonwealth under the British Crown. As the British Commonwealth disintegrated in the early 20th century, the Union of South Africa sufferd the depredations of civil war and a refugee crisis sparked off by the fall of Britain's African empire, which eventually led to its achieving and asserting its de facto independence by the beginning of 1932.
The Union of South Africa was founded on May 31, 1910, when, after the Boer War, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State were combined with then British-held Cape Colony and Natal. However, it still remained aligned firmly within the British sphere of geographic influence, and would well remain so for at least two more decades.
The Crown was represented by a Governor-General, so the serving head of state was while the government was led by the Prime Minister. The first in this office was elected was Louis Botha, a former Boer general.