The History of South Africa

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Overview

To quote the title of Nelson Mandela's 1994 autobiography, it has been a long walk to freedom. The history of South Africa, one of the oldest inhabited places on earth, is also the story of one of the newest nations, made and remade over the last century. This compellingly written history of South Africa, from prehistoric times through 1999, is the only up-to-date history of the nation. Beginning with an overview of the modern nation, this narrative history traces South Africa from prehistory through the European invasions, the settlement by Dutch, the imposition of British rule, the many internecine wars for control of the nation, the institution of apartheid, and, finally, freedom for all South Africans in 1994 and the Mandela years 1994-1999.

Twin themes of colonial rule and racism intertwine over the course of the last three hundred and fifty years. Beck, a specialist in the history of South Africa, illuminates the conflicts, personalities, and tragedies of South African history over this period, culminating in the end of apartheid in 1994, the release from prison of Nelson Mandela, and his formation of a new government. Brief sketches of key people in the history of South Africa, a glossary of terms, maps, and a bibliographic essay of suggested reading complete the work. Every library should update its resources on South Africa with this engagingly written and authoritative history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This concise narrative history of South Africa from the Stone Age to the present is nuanced, accessible, and clearly written….this book provides a solid overview of South African history and is recommended for undergraduate and general audiences."

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Choice

"[a] solid job of treading familiar territory, and offer excellent coverage of some of the political dynamics of the 1990s….[s]uccessfully narrates the key moments in the past and does a particularly fine job of the 1980s and 1990s….[w]ould also work well as an introductory text to South African history for students outside South Africa who would be unfamiliar with the larger narrative sketched here."

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International Journal of African Historical Studies

"Roger Beck has done a good job of an introductory text on South Africa….Professor Beck brings together a fair wealth of information and detail with ease and writes with fluency and authority, making his History of South Africa a clear and easy read."

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H-Net Book Review

"…excellent overview of South African history for students who have little or no previous knowledge of the region….The History of South Africa will be a welcome addition to the reading lists of courses dealing with South Africa."

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History Reviews of New Books

"This work is recommended for most libraries, but especially school, college, and public libraries."

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ARBA

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Product Details

Meet the Author

ROGER B. BECK is Professor of African and World History at Eastern Illinois University.

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Table of Contents

Series Foreword ix
Preface xiii
Timeline of Historical Events xv
Abbreviations xxvii
1 South Africa Today 1
2 The First South Africans, 4 Million B.C.E.--1488 C.E. 9
3 European Invasion, 1488-1795 25
4 The British and the Cape Colony, 1795-1870 41
5 African States, Afrikaner Republics, and British Imperialism, 1770-1870 59
6 The British Imperial Age, 1870-1910 77
7 White Union and Black Segregation: Preparing for Apartheid, 1910-1948 101
8 The Apartheid Years, 1948-1973 125
9 The Final Years of White Domination, 1973-1994 155
10 The Mandela Years, 1994-1999 191
Notable People in the History of South Africa 207
Glossary 215
Bibliographic Essay 219
Index 223
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