Capsule History

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The San Bushmen who inhabited the mountains of the Southern Cape and the Khoi-Khoi people (Hottentots), who inhabited the Cape coast were the first people known to have lived in the area.

The next recorded arrivals were a number of Bantu speaking tribes who, by the 13th century, had settled upon the majority of the land between the Drakensberg mountains and the south-east coast.

The Bantu speaking tribes were more organised than the other inhabitants, especially with regard to their food supply. This led to an increase in the population forcing them to look for more land.

In the 15th century the Portuguese mariners arrived searching for a sea route to the Indian ocean. They did not settle, but established a number of navigational aids.

In 1652 the first European settlements were established by the Dutch East India Company at the Cape of Good Hope. They needed a supply point for Dutch merchant ships and they wanted to acquire slaves, raw materials and precious metals.

In 1688 a group of Huguenot refuges from France joined the Dutch settlers.

The land that remained occupied by the Khoi-Khoi was quickly brought under Dutch control, slaves were imported to develop the land.

The Dutch colonists, over the next 150 years, spread east, this caused many violent collisions with the Bantu tribes who were attempting to expand westwards.

In 1760 the Dutch crossed the Orange River.

In 1779 a confrontation occurred when the eastwards expansion of the Boers was temporarily stopped by the Xhosa.

British annexation of the Cape in 1806 and the ending of slavery in 1836 all helped further Boer expansion during the Napoleonic wars.

The British created a colony in eastern Cape by excluding Xhosa from their lands and by bringing in their own settlers.

Dingiswayo, a chief of the Zulu, reorganised his tribe into a military nation along European lines, the commander of these regiments was Shaka.

Many years of intertribal warfare began, defeated tribes migrated causing clashes with settled tribes.

The Boers came in search of new lands, closely followed by the British who were settling in Cape Province and Natal. The Zulu were forced into submission as their weapons could not match the European ones.

Relations between the Boers and the British remained tense and occasionally led to armed conflict especially after the formation of Boer republics.

When diamonds and gold were found within the Boer republics, the Boers were forced to seek British capital. The British poured capital in and the demand for labour dramatically increased. As a result of the war unemployment was high and so there was plenty of labour for the mines.

The British and other industrialised European nations proceeded in grabbing what was left of Africa. Germany annexed Namibia, and the British responded by placing a protectorate upon Bechuanaland. Cecil Rhodes was encouraged to send expeditions north into what is now Zimbabwe and Zambia and he soon turned his attention to the Transvaal when he realised that Zimbabwe and Zambia failed to provide the riches that the Transvaal could. In the Transvaal he encouraged a rebellion amongst the heavily taxed white non-Afrikaaner mine workers, this was with the view to destabilise the Boer republics and inviting British intervention.

From 1899 to 1902 the Boer War was fought between the British forces and the Boers. The Boers, having moved to the north-east in the 19th century to escape from British control, were in no mood to come under British dominance again and war was inevitable.

The Boer War brought about the defeat of the independent republics such as the Orange Free State and Transvaal and the imposition of British rule over the whole of South Africa in spite of the treaty signed to end the war which stated that both the Boer and the British were to be equal partners.

The Union of South Africa was set up in 1910 giving political control to the whites and many racist laws were introduced.

The Afrikaaner National Party came to victory in 1948, they wanted to pursue a policy of apartheid (separate development), but they drew up legislation designed to exclude coloureds from ever having political or economic influence over South Africa.

The African National Congress (ANC) arose due to the legislation passed by the Afrikaaner National Party. To begin with they were willing to be peaceful, but when it became obvious that the whites would not listen, the only option that they could see was guerrilla warfare.

In the 1960's many of the leaders of the ANC were arrested, one of the many arrested was Nelson Mandela, who was offered unconditional freedom in return for his public renouncement of violence to effect political change.

in the 1970's there were creations of so called black homelands which in theory were independent countries with their own governments. These homelands were set up so that when blacks entered the white designated South Africa, the government could say that they were foreign guests with no political rights. The home lands were still, in effect, under the control of the white regime due to the fact that they could not survive economically without the support of the white South Africa.

Many surrounding countries had come under Marxist rule prompting South Africa to increase its defense budget and invade southern Angola.

In the 1980's both the UN and the Commonwealth demanded economic and political sanctions against the white South African regime unless they embarked on a political course which would lead to genuine democracy. The government was forced to make some concessions towards a more fair society. These concessions split the government with the radical right wing factions wanting to maintain the strict apartheid.

In 1989 President F.W. de Klerk initiated a series of reforms to effectively dismantle apartheid. In 1990, Nelson Mandela was released. Racist laws were annulled and peace with the ANC was established.

In 1991 de Klerk called a referendum on whether the nation wanted to continue towards true democracy and 70% voted in favour.

In 1994, Nelson Mandela was elected as president. A new regime was brought in under a new South African flag. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Africanet

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