Latest News

History of South Africa — A Quick Guide To South Africa’s History

The southernmost region of the Africa continent, South Africa has a great history that dates back to the known history of human existence. It is suggested that many hominid species existed in this region some 3 million years ago.

Histories are always fascinating and reveal great about the people of that area. If you are interested in knowing about the history of this great land, then the article is for you.

Here is the history of South Africa without making it unnecessarily lengthy. So, be with me and explore the historical background of this wonderful and ancient civilization that has many colors.

In 4th and 5th centuries CE. Then, will proceed to the time of colonization and foreign influence in the region.

4th to 5th Century:

The period marks the settlement of Bantu-speaking people in the region. They were farmers and herdsmen. They conquered and adopted the culture of Khoisan speakers and they gradually moved to the southern region. 

Portuguese Settlement:

After the Bantu expansion, the Portuguese came to the region as a result of exploration. They came to the region almost 10 centuries after Bantu speakers. When they reached South Africa, Bantu speakers had already got the majority.

In 1487,  Bartolomeu Dias came as the first western traveler to South Africa. He continued moving to the southernside until he reached the area that is called Groot River these days. 

This exploration was so great because voyage was described in a Portuguese epic poem. And when Dias was coming back, he also explored the cape region.

Colonization of South Africa by Dutch People:

After Bantu domination, the Portuguese held their influence, and later their hold was diminished by Dutch colonizers. English and Dutch merchants gradually got control over the territory.

These merchants were bringing spices to the land from the British East India Company. Two employees from the company had to live in the Cape region after an accident of shipwreck.

During their stay, they realized the fertility of the land and the benefits of the coast. When they returned, they reported all this to their officials, and their interest was aroused in gaining hold over the territory and resources.

They also discovered the Cape sea route and established a station at Cape Town. Dutch leaders also brought slaves to the region. Later, these slavesformed a community along with indigenous people and Dutch settlers.

After the southern part, Dutch Colonizers tried to capture the western part as well. For this, they encountered many wars with Xhosa tribe. 

British Colonization:

In the Era of  1790s to 1800, the region was colonized by British colonizers. Meanwhile, a series of Napoleonic wars took place that was fought against the French. 

After that, the British got to hold of control, and settlers from Britain and its surroundings moved to the region. These settlers got settled in the eastern region of South Africa and had their benefits in this.

After the British intervention in the region, many prior Dutch settlers departed from the region. On the other hand, the Boers found their republics to establish their political system.

Mineral Revolution:

Gold and diamond discovery in South Africa after the 1850s changed the economic patterns of the land. Side by side, British colonizers tried to keep good relations with indigenous people. Of course, the reason was to capture such valuable resources.

Many fights were fought till the late 19th century. Initially, the president of South Africa declared war against Pedi and Sekhukhune. However, the fights stopped after the peace treaty between the two.

Then, the Zulu tribe fought with the UK, also known as AngloZulu fights. Following these wars,the British tried to set a federation system coupled with armed forces to capture South Africa. 

For this, they had to fight Zululand’s army and became successful. After the defeat, the Zulu tribe lost its independence.

Boer Wars with British Colonizers:

 Boers had formed their republics. They resisted British hegemony in the territory and the first Boer war was fought using the Guerilla warfare method. 

Then, the second war was fought ad eventually after a massive loss, the Boers got the victory. 

Reconciliation and Formation of Union Party:

After the Second Boer War and till World War II, many anti-native policies were retrieved. The laws made by the British against indigenous people were also resolved. As a result, Union Party was formed by the amalgamation of the South African Party and National Party.

Union was abolished when Union joined World War II as an ally of the United Kingdom. National Party members greatly opposed this ally and eventually the Union broke.

Read more about

Apartheid System:

The system was introduced when the National Party was elected. They categorized the public on a racial basis and blacks, despite being in majority, remained deprived of many advantages.

Consequently, anti-apartheid movements were started and they greatly opposed the system. At last, the system was dissolved however, the country faced social and economic issues.


South Africa holds a rich history that dates back to quite ancient times. The territory became the place of settlement for settlers from different regions that filled the culture with different colors.

After facing many fights with tribes and with colonizers, eventually, the country maintained its freedom. 

The history of South Africa isa tough and rough history of bloodshed yet it is the land of treasures that attracted colonizers. Now it is rapidly growing and has a better economy than many other countries in the world.

To Top

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This