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British Imperialism in South Africa

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British Imperialism in South Africa

Post by Ezinma on Thu May 28, 2009 1:22 am

British Imperialism in South Africa



As the 18th century drew to a close, Dutch mercantile power began to fade. The British moved in to fill the vacuum. By the 19th century, the British started a formal imperial rule over South Africa. In this research paper, we shall to talk about how Britain penetrated into South Africa, the difficulties she faced while establishing her colonies, how the nature of her colonial rule was, and about the end of British imperialism in South Africa.

The landing of the British at the Cape
Durring the war between Britain and Holland (1780 -1783), a British fleet sailed to take possession over the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, but was attacked and disabled by the French. The French then landed two regiments at Cape Town to assist the Dutch in the defence of the colony. When the revolutionary armies of France invaded Holland, William ( Dutch leader of Orange State) escaped to England and issued instructions that the Cape should temprorarily be handed over to the British for protection against the French. Accordingly, in 1795 a British force arrived at Cape Town to prevent it from falling into the hands of Napoleonic France. The British remained in possession until 1803, when the colony was relinquished to the Dutch by terms of the Treaty of Amiens as a definitive treaty of peace between Britain and France.
Within three months of the restoration of the colony, war had broke out between Britain and Holland. In 1806, the British again took the Cape in order to protect the sea route to their Asian empire.

The difficulties British faced in Cape Town


When the British landed at the Cape Town, they tried to resolve the conflict between the Boers ( the first Dutch settlers in South Africa ) and the Xhosa ( African natives ) on the colony’s eatern frontier.
In 1820 the British authorities persuaded about 5000 middle-class British to leave Great Britain behind and settle on tracts of land between the feuding groups with the idea of providing a buffer zone. This plan was unsuccessful. Within three years, almost half of these 1820 setllers had retreated to the towns, notably Port Elizabeth, to persue the jobs they had held in Britain.
The British became highly urbanised. They dominated politics, trade, finance, mining, and manufacturing, while the largely uneducated Boers were relegated to their farms.
Meanwhile, the Boers had started to grow increasingly dissatisfied with British rule in Cape Colony. Besides, the gape between them further widened with the abolition of slavery in 1833.

The Great Trek

Beginning in 1835, several groups of Boers, together with large numbers of black servants, decided to trek off towards the north and the east. The reasons for this Great Trek of the Voortrekkers (the Boers) were their economic problems, the threatening danger of conflict with the Xhosa, who settled on the other side of the Fish River, and primarily, discontent with the English colonial authorities who did not provide sufficient protection, and had forbidden slavery. They were also looking for grazing lands for their cattle, and for enough space for their culture of anti-urban independence to flourish.
The boers continued moving northward till they reached Natal. The Afrikaners ( the Boers )
had to negotiate with Dingane, the king of the Zulus ( Afrian natives ). The negotiations ended with the agreement that large areas in central and south Natal would be given to the Boers. However, the Zulus killed 500 of them and stole almost all their cattle. Their newly elected leader was successful in consolidating the group and preparing it for a war against the Zulus. In 1838 the Zulus were completely defeated in the famous Battle of Blood River.
This enabled the Boers to found their first Republic in Natal. Yet, in 1843, the British came to Natal and succeeded to push the Vooetrekkers out of the area by establishing their crown colony.
In 1879, the British laid claims on the whole Zululand and made her under her sovereignty. As a result, a war between the British and the Zulus broke out. In the resulting Anglo-Zulu war, the British suffered a high number of casualties. Almost 2000 soldiers were savagely killed. At first, this victory for the Zulus shocked and petrified the British. However, England decided to send more troops to fight the Zulus. The Anglo-Zulu war ended in victory for the British in 1887.

The Anglo Boer Wars

After the Boers were defeated by the British in Natal .They retreated and moved on further North –East, and eventually formed the independent Transvaal and settled on it.
In the meantime, the Cape Colony had spread further on the territories settled by the Boers in the Orange River and was declared British Colony. The area in the Orange River was economically of little interest for the British, they soon gave it up to the Boers. This led to the foundation of the Republic of Orange Free State .After ceding it to the boers, the british turned their focus on Tranvaal's gold mines. This brought a conflict between the Voortrekkers (Boers settled in Transvaal) and the British which turned into a rebellion known as the First Boer War or the Transvaal War .The war lasted for a short period of time( 1880-1881) and ended with the victory of the Boers in the Battle of Majuba Hill .The Boers regained the independence of Transvaal which became The South African Republic . Britain viewed the defeat as an aberration, wanted to amalgamate their own colonies and the Boers Republics (Transvaal and the Orange Free State) into one union.
Soon the two republics formed an alliance and entered in a conflict on October 11 1899 with the two British Colonies of Cape and Natal. This war was known as the Second Boer War which ended in 1902 in favoured of Britain .Both Orange Free State and Transvaal become British crown colonies.

The post- Boer War years

During the post war years, the British were concerned with the reconstruction of the areas under their control especially the mining industry in Transvaal .By 1907 the British colonies in South Africa produced almost one third of the world's annual gold production .
The focus on the mining industry dissatisfied the Boers .They found themselves in a position of poor farmers .Their anger grew particularly when Britain attempted to anglicize them by imposing English as an official language.
Meanwhile, The British moved with their plans for union .The South Africa Act 1909 declared that Cape Colony, Natal, Transvaal and Free Orange State as the Union of South Africa. The Union remained a British territory, but with home rule for the Boers. In the same year The Union of South Africa was put under the British dominion.

The form of the British Imperial Policy

The nature of the British colonial rule consists of the racial separation and segregation through a group of laws, which curtailed the rights of the black majority. The Mines and Works Act of 1911 for example, limited black workers to menial work, and secured the better conditions for white workers .Moreover, the Native Land Act in 1913 set 7 % of South Africa for black people and banned them from buying lands outside the area. In addition, they were deprived of the right to vote, and even to strike.
This racial discrimination led to the Apartheid Policy in 1958.This system separated the blacks and made the majority of them no longer citizens of South Africa . In this period, black resistance grew under the leadership of the African National Congress ANC (formed in 1912). The blacks kept on working underground .Finally , the Apartheid era ended in 1990 , and the ANC came into power in 1994 when the first elections were held . Nelson Mandela becomes the president of the independent Republic of South Africa.

British imperialism in South Africa lasted from 1795 to 1994. During this long time the British Colonizers encountered many difficulties especially with the Boers and the African tribes (Zulu and Xhosa). Yet, they were able to control South Africa and they succeeded to exploit its natural resources. Worst of all, they humiliated and persecuted the blacks. The latter, strived and took their independence in 1994.


PS: This research paper was written by two former students.











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Ezinma

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Re: British Imperialism in South Africa

Post by tellmemore on Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:27 am

thanks Ezinma
that is what i need jouliya
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tellmemore

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Re: British Imperialism in South Africa

Post by Ezinma on Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:49 pm

I hope this "research", though it is not will just help you get a general idea, for we can consider what's written above irrelevant since there're neither references not even a bibliography for the sources consulted.
My teacher of Didactics said on a document without any reference I showed her : "that's rubbish!!"
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Ezinma

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Re: British Imperialism in South Africa

Post by nelwane on Thu Aug 26, 2010 12:13 am

hye every body please can some one help me in this: british civilization in the 19&20 centuries specially:
1.industrial revolution
2.british colonial and post-colonial Histories in Africa
3.britain's domestic policy
4.britain's foreign policy in a wold of change
please I will be so gratefull If you could help me is so important
thank's
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nelwane

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