South Africa History
South Africa facts are among the most historically intriguing in the world. The history of South Africa dates back thousands of years, as the Bushmen, who were hunter-gatherers, roamed the land until the immigration of the Bantu people. Most of the information of these two groups’ existence comes strictly from archeological evidence. European expeditions to South Africa led to colonization by the Dutch, followed by the British occupation. Finally, South Africa became an independent state and is today run by a democratic government. The history of South Africa has been filled with turmoil and excitement, making it one of the top destinations in the world today.
The beginnings of South Africa history are known through archeological artifacts. About three million years ago, the first hominids existed in this area, followed by Homo erectus, and finally, Homo sapiens came into existence. The San, or Bushmen, was the first group of people to roam the land in this area. South Africa facts about these people come from the artifacts of their civilization, which is how it was established that they were hunters and gatherers.
Eventually, herding livestock became a way of life, and shepherding replaced the hunting and gathering. Along with the livestock came new concepts concerning the lifestyles and social system, as wealth and ownership made their way into the San society. An elite social class developed and became known as the Khoikhoi. The Khoikhoi made their colonies along the coastal waters, while the San remained inland. The integration of these two groups is known as the Khoisan.
The Bantu people migrated into the area from the Niger River Delta, living peacefully with their Khoisan neighbors. Rock paintings depict encounters and integration between the two groups. In addition, artifacts from Khoisan societies have been found in Bantu settlements.
Europeans entered South Africa history when expeditions to the continent began with the Portuguese Bartolomeu Dias, the first European to round the southern tip of Africa. Later, a resting station was established at the Cape of Good Hope by Jan van Riebeeck of the Dutch East India Company. This led to the colonization of the area by the Dutch, also known as Afrikaners or Boers. Eventually, the British became interested in the area, leading to the first and second British occupations. Prince Alfred established a fishing harbor at Cape Town and named it the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in honor of himself and his mother.
Apartheid is a darker chapter in the history of South Africa. The word, which means "apartness" in Afrikaans, refers to a system of legal racial segregation that was introduced in 1948 and continued until 1994, when Nelson Mandela was elected with the African National Congress in the country's multi-racial democratic elections. There was much internal resistance to the policy, including the Soweto uprising in 1976, and visitors who are interested in learning more about this policy and its impact can visit the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg.
Independence came to this country when it became the Union of South Africa in 1910. Later, in 1961, it became known as the Republic of South Africa. The ways to learn facts about South Africa come in many different forms, including museums, tours, and safaris. Many historic leaders were raised in this great country, including the well-known campaigners for freedom and human rights, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, both born in Soweto. Visitors can learn about South African history on one of the many tours in several locations around the country.
There are colorful stories found throughout the world, but South Africa history is among the most exciting. Every visitor to the country will enjoy learning about the history of South Africa and will find their vacation has been enriched by greater knowledge of the region. Adventurers will bask in the thrills of a safari through time, and historians will revel in the South Africa facts that come from every corner of the country.
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