The Free State (Afrikaans: Vrystaat; Sotho: Freistata; Xhosa: iFreyistata; Tswana: Foreistata; Zulu: iFuleyisitata; before 1995, the Orange Free State) is a province of South Africa. Its capital is Bloemfontein, which is also South Africa’s judicial capital. Its historical origins lie in the Boer republic called the Orange Free State and later Orange Free State Province.
The Free State is built on a series of flat grassy plains dotted with pastureland, with a general height of 3,800 feet and only the occasional hill or kopje to break up the monotony. A thriving agricultural industry is possible thanks to the rich soil and favourable environment. It is renowned as South Africa’s breadbasket since it has over 30,000 farms that produce over 70% of the country’s grain.
Almost all of the province’s terrain is 1,000 metres above sea level, making it a high-lying area. The foothills of the Drakensberg and Maluti Mountains boost the terrain to over 2,000 metres in the east. The Karoo Sequence of rocks, which includes shales, mudstones, sandstones, and the Drakensberg Basalt as the youngest capping rocks, is found in the Free State. Mineral reserves abound, with gold and diamonds being particularly valuable, and are largely located in the province’s north and west.