South African History

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  • Topic: South Africa, Cape Town, Dutch East India Company
  • Pages : 3 (709 words )
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  • Published : May 12, 2013
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South African History

The Republic of South Africa, not to be confused with South African Republic, is a republic located at the southern tip of Africa. The first people living in this area were nomades traveling from the north, searching for a new place to live. Today, the population of South Africa is a mix of several ethnical groups.

The modern history of South Africa began in 1488, when the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias rounded what came to be known as the Cape of Good Hope, and landed in Mossel Bay. Many Portuguese explorers arrived after him, and even though they were the first among the European countries to discover this part of the African continent, they showed very little interest in colonization. The area's stormy weather and rocky bays threathend to destroy their ships and the attempts to trade with the local natives often ended in conflicts. Instead, they found the Mozambican coast more appealing, with attractiv bays to use as stations and waters with abudant wildlife, perfect for prawning.

The Portuguese had very little competition in the region at the time. It was first in the late 16th century, when the English and Dutch began to challange the Portuguese along their trade routes, that the actual European colonization of South Africa began. The Dutch East India Company decided in 1652 that an expedition under the command of Jan van Riebeeck would establish a secure base camp in Table Bay, where passing trade ships on their way to India, China and Southeast Asia could shelter and resupply. This base camp would later to be known as Cape Town.

As the base camp grew, they found themselves faced with a food shortage. As an attempt to solve this problem, a small number of workers were released from their contract to establish farms which would provide the Dutch East India Company settlement with their harvest. The majority of the burghers, as these farmers were known, were Dutch but there were also some Germans as well as...
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