Apartheid is a former social system in South Africa in which black people did not have the same rights as people of other races and were segregated from the rest of the population. An apartheid state is an area where similar events are taking place.
Apartheid began in South Africa in 1948 after the all-white National Party gained power. There was much opposition to the policies within South Africa and from all over the world, but the laws remained in effect until 1991 when the government began to dismantle the legislation that founded apartheid. A new constitution was established in 1994, officially ending the oppressive social system.