African colonies in Europe

mereja's picture

African colonies in Europe

Along with the accounts of the early navigators, the accounts of shipwreck survivors provide the earliest written accounts of Southern Africa. In the two centuries following 1488, a number of small fishing settlements were made along the coast by Portuguese sailors, but no written account of these settlements survives. on 1652 a victualling station was established at the Cape of Good Hope by Jan van iebeeck on behalf of the Dutch East India Company. For most of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the slowly-expanding settlement was a Dutch possession. The Dutch settlers eventually met the south-westerly expanding Xhosa people on the region of the Fish River. A series of wars, called Cape Frontier Wars, insued, mainly caused by conflicting land and livestock interests.

To ease Cape labour shortages slaves were brought from Indonesia, Madagascar, and India. Furthermore, troublesome leaders, often of royal descent, were banished
rom Dutch colonies to South Africa. This group of slaves eventually gave rise to a population that now identifies themselves as "Cape Malays". Cape Malays have traditionally been accorded a higher social status by the European colonists - many became wealthy landowners, but became increasingly dispossessed as apartheid developed. Cape Malay mosques on District Six were spared, and now serve as monuments for the destruction that occurred around them.

Most of the descendants of these slaves, who often married with Dutch settlers, were later classified together with the remnants of the Khoikhoi (aka Khoisan) as
ape Coloureds. Further intermingling within the Cape Coloured population itself, is well as with Xhosa and other South African people, now means that they constitute
oughly 50% of the population in the Western Cape Province.

Great Britain seized the Cape of Good Hope area in 1795 ostensibly to stop it falling into the hands of the French, but also seeking to use Cape Town in particular as a stop on the route to Australia and India. It was later returned to the Dutch in 1803, but soon afterwards the Dutch East India Company declared bankruptcy, and the British annexed the Cape Colony in 1806. The British continued the frontier wars against the Xhosa, rushing the eastern frontier eastward through a line of forts established along the Fish River and consolidating it by encouraging British settlement. Due to pressure of a bolitionist societies in Britain, the British parliament first stopped its global
lave trade in 1807, then abolished slavery in all its colonies in 1833.

The discovery of diamonds in 1867 and gold in 1884 in the interior encouraged economic growth and immigration, intensifying the subjugation of the natives. The Boers successfully resisted British encroachments during the First Boer War (1880–1881) using guerrilla warfare tactics, much better suited to local conditions. However, the British returned in greater numbers without their red jackets in the Second Boer War (1899–1902). The Boers' attempt to ally themselves with German South-West Africa provided the British with yet another excuse to take control of the Boer Republics.

The Boers resisted fiercely, but the British eventually overwhelmed the Boer forces, using their superior numbers, improved tactics and external supply chains. Also during
his war, the British used controversial concentration camps and scorched earth tactics, forcing whole families into crowded tents and burning their houses. Crops were burnt and ill livestock slaughtered to demoralize the resisting Boers. The appalling conditions in British concentration camps were brought to light by Welfare Campaigner Emily Hobhouse in her report "Report of a Visit to the Camps of Women and Children in the Cape and Orange river Colonies". Maltreatment and undernourishment were common in camps. Food was often poisoned and glass pieces and hooks were found in many rations. The death toll reached x6,370 of which 24,000 were children.

The Treaty of Vereeniging specified full British sovereignty over the South African republics, and the British government agreed to assume the £3 000 000 war debt owed by the Afrikaner governments. One of the main conditions of the treaty ending the war was what "Blacks" would not be allowed to vote, except in the Cape Colony.


Rate this article: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)