South African History

Monday, 12 April 2010 14:31 administrator


What a remarkably tumultuous past this country has had! We've tried to put together a BRIEF overview of the major events that shaped our present in the time-line below.
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· 100 000 B.C. onwards Stone Age San (Bushmen) hunter-gatherers and Khoikhoi (Hottentot) pastoralists pursue nomadic lifestyles in southern Africa.

· 300 A.D. onwards Iron Age Negroid peoples move south from Central Africa to settle many areas of South Africa.

· 1488 - Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias rounds the Cape of Good Hope in quest of a sea route to the East.

· 1652 - The Dutch East India Company establishes a refreshment station at the Cape under Jan van Riebeeck

· 1690 - Dutch settlers begin to move eastwards into the hinterland, displacing the Khoikhoi and San.

· 1779 - First conflict on the Eastern Frontier between Dutch settlers and Negroid (Xhosa) peoples.

· 1806 - Britain occupies the Cape.

· 1820 - First English settlers (5 000) arrive in the Eastern Cape.

· 1834 - Disgruntled Dutch (Boer) settlers begin “Great Trek” into the interior to escape British control within the Cape Colony.

· 1852 to 1854 - Trekkers granted independence from Britain in their own republics : the Transvaal and the Orange Free State.

· 1860 - First Indian indentured labourers arrive in Natal.

· 1867 - First discovery of diamonds in the Northern Cape area.

· 1879 - British armies finally overcome Zulus in Anglo-Zulu War

· 1886 - Discovery of Witwatersrand goldfields and the birth of Johannesburg.

· 1899 to 1902 - Anglo-Boer War between Britain and the 2 Boer Republics. At the Peace of Vereeniging, the Transvaal and Free State become British colonies.

· 1910 - Founding of the Union of South Africa.

· 1913 - Natives Land Act passed, giving blacks 13% of the land. Influx Control and Pass Laws restricting movements of Africans in “white” South Africa implemented.

· 1936 - Blacks removed from the common voters’ roll.

· 1948 - The National Party under D.F. Malan defeats General Smuts’s United Party in general election on platform of "Apartheid". A plethora of laws controlling every aspect of South Africans' lives follows.

· 1949 - Mixed Marriages Act.

· 1950 - Group Areas, Population Registration, Separate Representation of Voters, Immorality and Suppression of Communism Acts.

· 1952 - Defiance Campaign launched by the African National Congress.

· 1953 - Bantu Education and Separate Amenities Acts.

· 1956 - Coloureds removed from the common voters’ roll.

· 1960 - 69 people killed at Sharpeville in demonstrations against the Pass Laws. A.N.C. and other black nationalist organisations banned.

· 1961 = South Africa leaves Commonwealth; becomes Republic of South Africa.; A.N.C. adopts armed struggle, and military wing (Umkhonto weSizwe) is founded.

· 1963 - Rivonia Trial ends : Nelson Mandela and many others sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island.

· 1976 = Riots break out in Soweto on 16 June and spread to the rest of the country.

· 1977 - U.N. Security Council imposes mandatory sanctions against South Africa.

· 1983 - P.W. Botha’s government begins “reform” programme, extending separate racial franchise to Coloureds and Indians, but excluding Africans.

· 1986 - U.S. Congress imposes sanctions. Mixed Marriages, Influx Control and Pass Laws abolished.

· 1989 - F.W. de Klerk becomes State President.

· 1990 - A.N.C. and other liberation organisations unbanned; release of Mandela and other activists; negotiations on majority rule begin; A.N.C. suspends armed struggle.

· 1993 - U.N. lifts sanctions.

· 1994 - A.N.C. wins first non-racial election, and Mandela inaugurated as South Africa’s first black President; South Africa rejoins Commonwealth and U.N.

· 1996 - Final constitution of the new South Africa signed into law.

Last Updated on Sunday, 05 February 2012 09:35