Late 15th Century saw Portuguese explorers become the first to sail around the southern tip of Africa, and establish the sea route to India. Once discovered, the region of the Cape of Good Hope became of particular interest to Europe.
Portuguese and Dutch Settlement In 1488, Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Diaz became the first European to reach land at the Cape of Good Hope. By mid 17th Century, the Dutch, French Huguenots and African Bantu people began to settle the region that was later to become South Africa. Up until then, it had been home to groups of hunters and gatherers (San and Khoikhoi). In 1652, on behalf of the Dutch East India Company, Jan van Riebeeck built the first white settlement, later to become Cape Town. The Boer (Dutch for "farmers") encroached into territory settled by the Bantu-speaking Xhosa people, triggering conflict over pastureland and ultimately resulting in the so-called "Kaffir Wars" in 1779. These wars lasted almost 100 years and ended with the defeat of the Xhosa.
British Colonial Rule At the beginning of the 19th Century, the white population came under British Colonial rule. From 1836, in order to escape British dominance, more than 10,000 Boers migrated from the Cape Colony to the northeast, where they founded the republics of Natalia, Orange Free State and Transvaal. This mass migration is commonly referred to as the "Great Trek". In the following decades, Great Britain continued to expand its sphere of influence and defeated the powerful Zulu Kingdom. The Second Boer War broke out in 1899 and ended in 1902 with the capitulation of the Boers. In 1910, the Boer republics were annexed and united with the Cape Colony to become the Union of South Africa, which was granted the status of a dominion. Under the leadership of James Hertzog, the Boer National Party (NP) ousted the pro-British South African Party from office and in the form of apartheid, institutionalised the exploitation and repression of the black majority. This exploitation materialised in all aspects of state, economy and society, through isolation and segregation. Between the whites and the blacks were the "coloureds" and the descendents of Indian labourers, brought into the country by the British Colonialists. U. Jürgens; Ü: J. Moar, C. Fleming