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Brief History of South Africa

The first Europeans visited the Eastern and Southern African coasts in the the 1400's from around 1450 onwards. Portuguese sailer Bartholomeu Dias opened the sea route to the east to Europeans in 1488.

In 1652 a refreshment station was established by the Dutch in the Cape.

The Colonial Era began in the 17th century where the Cape started out as a victualling station and ancestral land was seized from the Khoikhoi by colonists, the resistance began.

Slaves were brought in from the east and later spread into the interior as farmers. The Afrikaans language developed with a great Dutch influence as different languages were fused into one. Social segregation was growing between Colonists and the indigenous black people of the area. Competition for grazing land later developed into the first of nine frontier wars between the whites and the Xhosa in 1779 in the Eastern Cape.

When gold was discovered in 1867 in the Witwatersrand area, it changed the face of South Africa, as this area now became home to many immigrants and was also the reason for rapid political changes for blacks and whites.

By 1902 South Africa was divided into four colonies - Cape, Natal, Free State and Transvaal. On May 31, 1910 the Union of South Africa was born, formed within the British Empire which deprived black people from their land and excluded them from taking part in negotiations. The African National Congress, ANC (our governing party today) was formed in 1912 due to Black dissatisfaction.

The start of South Africa's (Apartheid) era where people were discriminated against purely by the colour of their skin. Black resistance was rife and uprisings were the order of the day. Black parties got much support from countries all over the world as sanctions and boycotts were implemented in order to assist the injustice of the ruling parties. Many people died in uprisings and clashings between the Government.

In 1994 President FW De Klerk, after much negotiations, unbanned the the ANC and released all political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela who, after a free and peaceful election, became South Africa's first black president. Political harmony was attained and today this great country is represented by a beautiful rainbow nation, with diverse cultures and beautiful people. It has become one of the top tourist destinations, but you have to visit, to see why.

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