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Major Events in South African History

*How did each of these events contribute to the development of apartheid?

Before, during, after European rule

o Early South African History

Diversity: groups and cultures, Khosian- and Bantu-speaking, Xhosa,
Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Tswana)
o Economy based on pastoralism (livestock) and agriculture, metal
working and trade
o Bantu-speaking groups lived in villages with chiefs as political
o Rich in natural resources
o Identify with ethnic group, not borders/country; later Europeans
will identify groups strictly by ethnicity
Contributed to the development of apartheid because Europeans took away
African identity. Europeans did not take into consideration the ethnic diversity and
fueled white supremacy. They were looking for raw resources and new markets.

o The Dutch Cape Colony

- 1652: Dutch established first European settlement in South Africa called
Dutch Cape Colony
o Colony created a racially segregated society dependent on African
o Dutch settlers though the land was theirs and Africans were
o Imported enslaved Africans to work for them and forced
remaining free Africans to carry identification around while in
- Dutch spoke simplified version of Dutch, Afrikaans, called themselves
- Believed that the Christian God chose them to establish a nation based on
racial superiority, the nation placed white people as superior
Contributed to the development of apartheid because it introduced Europeans
and the concept of racial superiority to South Africa. Africans had less rights under
Afrikaner rule and the Dutch Cape Colony ran solely on the labor of African slaves.
(institutionalized racism)

o The British Cape Colony and the Great Trek

- 1806: Great Britain captured Cape Colony from Dutch
- English outlawed trading of enslaved Africans and abolished slavery
o Afrikaners thought that British were trying to destroy their way of
- British society remained as racially segregated as Dutch colony
- Many Afrikaners tried to escape British colonial rule by trekking to
interior of country to preserve Dutch colonial culture (1837, Great Trek)
- Africans viewed Afrikaners as invaders
- Justified new take over – chosen by God
Contributed to the development of apartheid because although slavery was
abolished, the racial segregation in South Africa continued to thrive.

o The African Wars

- Great Trek brought Afrikaners into conflict with African kingdoms
- Zulu kingdom was most influential society in SE Africa at time of Great
- Afrikaners entered Zulu region and got defeated, were cornered to a
positon near Blood River
o Zulu slaughtered by Afrikaners because of technology (rifles)
- Afrikaners believed they were fighting to maintain their culture
- Multiple fights continued, usually with British colonial army aiding
Afrikaners until conquest over almost all Africans was complete
o Africans lost much land, were forced to work on white farms for
low wages
o Afrikaners passed laws to control black movements and forced
Contributed to the development of apartheid because laws were now being
passed to suppress black revolution.

o The mining of gold and diamonds

- 1867: Diamonds found in area disputed by independent Afrikaner state,
British, and a Tswana, a group of African people
- British forced Afrikaners to recognize British control and moved Tswana
off land
- British and Afrikaners fought because Afrikaners remained farmers,
eventually started the South African War
- British put Afrikaners into concentration camps, 20,000 died
- Discovery of diamonds and gold changed African life because rapid
industrialization created a stricter segregation system
- British forced Africans to leave material-rich land and move to reserves,
areas of land that were deemed of little value so Africans would not get
access to materials, but could work in white-owned mines
o Africans forced to move away from families, live in barracks…
Contributed to the development of apartheid because African’s rights continued
to lessen. British needed labor to work for them but did not want Africans to get
o The Union of South Africa
- British granted independence to Union of South Africa in 1910
o Refused blacks the right to vote
o Whites enacted laws to make black land reserves into pools for
cheap, unskilled labor for white farmers/industrialists
o Government railways and roads neglected reserves
o Farming collapses – the black reserves offer no fertile land (black
 Many blacks migrated to illegal shanty towns, such as
Soweto, on outskirts of large cities
- 1948: Daniel Malan’s National Party won SA election and began policy of
apartheid, system that legalized Afrikaner control over blacks
Contributed to the development of apartheid because the policy of apartheid
was established, legitimizing racism and segregation.

What does it look like?
- Racial segregation
- Forced removal from home and land
- Neglecting public services like railways and roads because they run
through black neighborhoods and reserves
- Took away black voice because weren’t allowed to vote or move (laws
passed to control movement of blacks)
- Forced into low wage work
- Resources of land were taken away
- Families were forcibly ripped apart
- Separated people by the color - darkness – of skin