Twentieth Century History of South Africa

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The twentieth century history of South Africa contains many struggles and obstacles as its people worked towards creating a more unified country. Modern human beings have inhabited South Africa for more than 100,000 years and a great deal of colonization has occurred within the last 300 years. During the late 18th century, 90 Dutchmen landed on the Cape of Good Hope as part of the Dutch East India Company, representing the first permanent settlers of South Africa. In 1652, they were instructed to build a fort and to start growing crops to aid the ships travelling along the Eastern trade route. Five short years later, approximately 250 white men occupied the area, bringing with them slaves to aid in growing more crops. Their farmland began to expand, and the native South Africans concern of expanding Dutch colonization was becoming a reality. Immigration was encouraged in the 19th century, and the independent farmers called “trekboers” started to expand their farmland to the north and east. Slaves brought into South Africa by the white colonists created a mixed race group known as “colored”, creating a mixture of race and culture seen today in South Africa. Native South Africans were losing ground to this expanding Dutch colony and their slaves (, 2012, pg. 1).

According to the U.S. State Department (2012), African farmers known as the Boers began to migrate into South Africa in 1836. These colonists fled to Africa partly to escape British rule and due to the recent abolition of slavery in Britain. This created strife and conflict with the native South Africans, the most formidable being the Zulus. The leader of the Zulus, Shaka, reigned over the area from 1787 to 1828. Under him, the Zulus were able...

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...racial election. The citizens of Africa are counting on South Africa's post-apartheid governments to continue the trend of reformation and reconciliation.


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South Africa. U.S. Department of State. Retrieved April 19, 2012, from

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