Wednesday, November 02, 2005

History of South Africa

History of South Africa. This is an essay which covers the history of the nation of South Africa. Needless to say, South Africa has had an interesting history including Shaka and the Zulus, the Boers, apartheid, and high crime rates.

Wikipedia notes, "The Republic of South Africa is a country located at the southern tip of the African continent. It borders the countries of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland. Lesotho is an enclave entirely surrounded by South African territory."

"South Africa has the largest population of people of European descent in Africa, the largest Indian population in Africa, the largest mixed white, Malay, and black population (formerly known as "Coloured"; people of mixed Bantu, Khoisan, and European descent; or pure Khoisan descent) community in Africa, making it one of the most ethnically diverse countries on the continent. Racial and ethnic strife between the white minority and the black majority have played a large part in the country's history and politics. The National Party began introducing the racist policy of apartheid after winning the general election of 1948; however, it was the same party under the leadership of F.W. de Klerk who under pressure started to dismantle it in 1990 after a long struggle by the oppressed black majority, as well as many white, coloured and Indian South Africans."

From the site:

People have inhabited southern Africa for thousands of years. Members of the Khoisan language groups are the oldest surviving inhabitants of the land, but only a few are left in South Africa today--and they are located in the western sections. Most of today's black South Africans belong to the Bantu language group, which migrated south from central Africa, settling in the Transvaal region sometime before AD 100. The Nguni, ancestors of the Zulu and Xhosa, occupied most of the eastern coast by 1500.

The Portugese 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 on 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 today's population. The establishment of these settlements had far-reaching social and political effects on the groups already settled in the area, leading to upheaval in these societies and the subjugation of their people.

By 1779, European settlements extended throughout the southern part of the Cape and east toward the Great Fish River. It was here that Dutch authorities and the Xhosa fought the first frontier war. The British gained control of the Cape of Good Hope at the end of the 18th century. Subsequent British settlement and rule marked the beginning of a long conflict between the Afrikaners and the English.

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