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Early History of South Africa: A Climatological Case Study Essay

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Early History of South Africa: A Climatological Case Study


The early history of Cape Town shares little with the experience of the rest of Africa. The patterns of colonization and the relationship between black Africans and nationalized Europeans are unique to the area. The timing and speed of settlement were possible only because of the local disease environment. The system of racial interaction, a system of Aparthide unique to the area, acted differently than other systems because of farming patterns dictated by the fertility of the land. The above are instances of the apparent adaptation of South African cultural development to its climate environment. They show the history and culture of the area are inseparable aspects of the climate in which they formed.

Once the Portuguese had made the trip around the horn of Africa and had started to trade with the Indian Ocean world it was clear that a port capable of re-supplying and repairing the trading ships was necessary. Towns sprang to life up and down the West African coast, their numbers increasing as other European powers began to claim their share of the trade with India. In most of these towns, European mortality was horrendous. Even England, notorious for colonizing with Criminals, did not send its prisoners to the West African coast for long. Malaria and other African diseases killed them as effectively as a hangman’s noose. But there was one glaring anomaly: Cape Town. Here, Europeans could survive. The reason had everything to do with Climate.

One of the biggest causes of European mortality was Malaria. A parasitic disease carried by mosquitoes, Malaria has a high mortality rate among first exposure victims. Even today, it is the fourth most common cause for c...


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..., settlements remained small and ineffectual. The African natives were able to maintain their own lifestyles, and the Europeans were prevented from expanding. This was not the case in South Africa, where insufficient rainfall forced the population to spread out and interact with the natives to such an extent as to alter their language. The divisions this interaction created were not easily thrown aside, and have persisted to modern times. Without the knowledge of the climate of the area, there would be no explanation for the unique nature of South African culture. Climate dictated the development of this culture.

Works Cited:

1 http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/facts.htm
2 http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/distribution_epi/distribution.htm
3 http://cybercapetown.com/CapeTown/climate.php
4 http://www.wunderground.com/NORMS/DisplayIntlNORMS.asp?CityCode=68816&Units=both



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