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Natal(nətăl`), former province, South Africa: see KwaZulu-NatalKwaZulu-Natal
, province (2011 pop. 10,267,300), 36,433 sq mi (94,361 sq km), E South Africa, on the Indian Ocean. Formerly Natal province, in the post-apartheid constitution of 1994 it was renamed KwaZulu-Natal.
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Natal(nətäl`), city (1991 pop. 606,887), capital of Rio Grande do Norte state, NE Brazil, just above the mouth of the Potengi River. A modern city that has retained its colonial flavor and is beautifully situated among white palm-studded beaches, Natal attracts many tourists. Its port is important in the handling of coastal shipping and in the export of tungsten. There is also some light industry. Natal [Port.,=Nativity] was founded on Christmas Day, 1599. It was occupied by the Dutch from 1633 to 1654 and in 1817 was briefly the seat of a republican government until it was suppressed by imperial authorities. It grew rapidly during World War II, when an airport was built for flights to Africa. Natal has several institutions of higher learning.
a province in the eastern Republic of South Africa on the Indian Ocean. Area, 87,000 sq km. Population, 2,980,000 (1960), including 2,200,000 Africans, 340,000 European immigrants, 395,000 Asian immigrants (Indians), and 45,000 mulattoes; according to a 1967 estimate, the province had 3,419,000 inhabitants. The Africans and mulattoes suffer racial discrimination. The capital is Pietermaritzburg.
Natal occupies a sharply broken, steplike plateau, bounded on the west by the spurs of the Drakensberg Mountains, with elevations to 2,294 m. The climate is generally tropical and humid. Average monthly temperatures range from 15° to 25°C. Annual precipitation is 750 mm in the southwest to 1,500 mm in the northeast. There are many fast-moving rivers, full of rapids, such as the Tugela and the Umkomaas. Vegetation consists primarily of grass savanna, with shrub steppe in the southwest.
In the early 19th century, the Zulu tribes living in what is now Natal Province united. Despite their courageous resistance, the tribes were subjugated by English and Boer colonizers. In 1842, the English gained control over most of Natal, which was declared an English colony; its present boundaries were officially adopted in 1897 after the annexation of Zululand. In 1910, it became a province of the Union of South Africa (the Republic of South Africa since 1961).
Large highly productive farms and plantations belonging to European companies dominate the agriculture; at the same time, agriculture in the bantustan of Zululand remains primitive. Natal is the principal region for sugarcane and banana production in the Republic of South Africa. Cotton, tobacco, potatoes and other vegetables, pineapples, peaches, apples, and pears are also grown. Dairy cattle are raised in the Drakensburg foothills. High-grade coal (the Dundee-Newcastle and Vryheid basins), ilmenite, and thorium, zirconium, and tantalum ores are mined; there are also small quantities of iron ore. Industrial processing of raw agricultural products yields alcohol, sugar, starch, tanning extract, tobacco, and cotton. The Shell and Mobil oil companies have refineries in Durban. Tires, steam boilers for power plants, artificial fertilizer, and textiles are among the province’s other industrial products. Shipbuilding and repair are carried on. Cast iron is produced in Newcastle, and cranes and rolled aluminum in Pietermaritzburg. A large metallurgical combine was under construction as of 1974 in Newcastle. The Durban-Johannesburg railroad and its branch lines link Natal with the other provinces of the Republic of South Africa. The economic center and largest port is Durban.
a port in northeastern Brazil, on the Atlantic, capital of the state of Rio Grande do Norte. Population, 264,600 (1970). Railroad station. Natal has leather and footwear, textile, and food-processing enterprises.