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South Africa in Depth: A Peace Corps Publication [NOOK Book]

Overview

The history of South Africa is marked by successive invasions by various groups, from the earliest hominids to the Khoisan and Bantu peoples to Portuguese explorers to Dutch and British colonists. These were followed by centuries of struggle for land and economic and political power.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach the Cape of Good Hope, arriving in 1488. However, permanent white settlement did not begin until 1652, when the ...
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South Africa in Depth: A Peace Corps Publication

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Overview

The history of South Africa is marked by successive invasions by various groups, from the earliest hominids to the Khoisan and Bantu peoples to Portuguese explorers to Dutch and British colonists. These were followed by centuries of struggle for land and economic and political power.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to reach the Cape of Good Hope, arriving in 1488. However, permanent white settlement did not begin until 1652, when the Dutch East India Company established a provisioning station in the Cape. In subsequent decades, French Huguenot refugees, the Dutch, and Germans began to settle in the Cape. Collectively, they form the Afrikaner segment of South Africa’s current population. The establishment of these settlements had far reaching social and political effects on the groups already living in the area, leading to upheaval in their societies and subjugation of the people.

After British colonists seized the Cape of Good Hope in 1806, many of the Dutch who had settled there (the Boers) moved north in search of land and freedom from British rule. A mass migration, which came to be known as the Great Trek, began in the 1830s, when the British banned slavery and asserted equality of the races. In Afrikaner lore, the trek carried a strong biblical connection, in which the Voortrekkers (Afrikaans for “pioneers”) were seeking not only independence but a promised land. Their violent encounters with Zulus in Natal added to the trek’s epic drama and provided a foundation for Afrikaner nationalism. A turning point in the Zulu wars came on December 16, 1838, when the Boers killed 3,000 Zulus in a battle at “Blood” River. Initially called “Dingaan’s Day,” the event was celebrated nationally as the “Day of the Vow” until 1994, when it began being called the “Day of Reconciliation.”

In the first Anglo-Boer war (1880-1881), known to Afrikaners as the War of Independence, the Boers quickly defeated British forces and established the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR). During a second Anglo-Boer war in 1899, the Boers’ hatred of the British intensified as thousands of women and children were herded into concentration camps. After 26,000 Boers, mostly children, died in the camps, ZAR leaders reluctantly signed the Peace of Vereeniging in 1902, and the Boer republics became British colonies.

For the 80 percent African majority, little changed under British rule. Although nonwhites were promised freedom from “Boer slavery,” the peace treaty did nothing to ensure their political rights, except in the Cape, where voting privileges were retained for whites, “Coloureds” (those of mixed race), and selected blacks. Political awareness grew, however, as Mohandas Gandhi began to work with Indian leaders in the colonies of Natal and Transvaal and African-led political groups started to develop.

In 1910, after seven years of negotiations, the four British colonies—Cape, Natal, Transvaal, and Orange Free State—were able to form the Union of South Africa, a dominion of the British empire with a parliamentary form of government.

The foundations of modern apartheid (which means “apartness”) were laid not long after the union was established as a barrage of repressive legislation was passed. This legislation outlawed strikes by African workers, reserved skilled jobs for whites, banned Africans from military service, and tightened the pass laws that restricted movement by nonwhites.

Both the Afrikaner-based National Party (NP) and the South African Native Congress, which later became the African National Congress (ANC), were formed in 1912. The ANC’s goals were the elimination of restrictions based on color and the enfranchisement of and parliamentary representation for blacks. Despite the party’s efforts, the government continued to pass laws limiting the rights and freedoms of blacks.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940149218424
  • Publisher: Pennyhill Press
  • Publication date: 3/4/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 189 KB

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