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Foreign Policy Analysis
Imperialism in South Africa

Imperialism in South Africa


Imperialism in South Africa Imperialism in South Africa is a complicated history of the Dutch the English and Africans. The south part of Africa was colonized by the Dutch East India Company in the 1600s. The area was called Cape Colony. It was then inhabited by the Dutch farmers, called Boers or Afrikaners. They were imperialized by the British in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The British imposed English language and law over the Boers. Because of this, many Boers migrated from Cape Colony to the Orange Free State and Transvaal territories. But for now, let’s look at the Africans. The native ethnic groups in Southern Africa have been fighting since the late 1700s to the early 1800s. The Zulu king Shaka was finally able to subdue other tribes and around 1816 and bring the nation together. He built a large empire and had good military organization. However, Shaka was a brutal king and he was assassinated in 1828. His successors were unable to keep the kingdom together, and there were constant internal disputes. The disunity along with technological inferiority weakened the resistance towards British invasion. The British wanted the coast of South Africa as a trading port, as well as a strategic naval base. They already imperialized Cape Colony and Natal, but the surrounded Zulu kingdom was independent and they were considered a threat. So the British offered King Cetshwayo of Zulu an outrageous offer: to surrender under British rule and disband the Zulu army. Of course, the Zulu rejected the offer and war erupted. The war lasted from January 11 to July 4 of 1879 with Great Britain gaining the victory. Aftermath the war, Cetshwayo was exiled. Zululand was divided into 13 chiefdoms. Officials were appointed to be the channel between the chiefs and the British government, but it resulted it much bloodshed and disturbance. Although Cetshwayo was restored as king in 1882, continuous war between tribal chiefs led to his death a year after. Meanwhile, let’s look at the Dutch. Nothing much happened after their migration-until diamonds were discovered in the 1860s and gold in the 1880s at Boer territories. The British, aside from wanting the gold industry to improve their economy, feared that the Transvaal would be a threat to their supremacy. It was not long before war broke out between the British and Boers in 1899, The Boer War. In 1901 and 1902, the British torched more than 30,000 farms in the South African Republic and the Orange Free State and placed all the Boer women and children in concentration camps, where more than 25,000 died. The British won the Boer War in 1902. In 1910, the Boer republics were joined into a self-governing Union of South Africa, which was controlled by the British. The imperialism in South Africa was a cruel and devastating event. Africans and Boers lost their lives in wars and resistance. They lost their land and freedom— having to work in mines and farms as slaves. As Europeans settled in the area, there were social inequality and cultural oppression. The Africans had an identity crisis. Imperialism, however, united the Boers. They set up schools and established new political parties to push for self-government. It also increased trade in South Africa, and railroads, dams, and telephone and telegraph lines were built in African colonies.

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