Sa flag

History of South Africa

  • 500

    Bantu Migrations

    Bantu Migrations
    Archeologists have discovered that South Africa might have been inhabited by the Bantu communities. Compared with the Khoe-San communites that originally resided there, the Bantu would have brought with them more advanced agriculture and hunting systems.
    The San and Khoikhoi tribes were probably the first communites to settle in South Africa. Though the same, the San were hunter-gatherers while the Khoikoi were pastoral herders. It's thought they settled in South Africa around 2000 years ago.
  • Jan 1, 1075

    Kingdom of Mapungubwe

    Kingdom of Mapungubwe
    (1075 - 1220) The Kingdom of Mapungubwe was a monarchy that existed in South Africa before colonialism. It lasted less than a century and had at most about 5,000 people, who most likely were descendents of the Khoi. They had been attracted to this area because of the agriculture possibility and because of the elephants. When the population grew, they moved to Mapungubwe hill.
  • Jan 1, 1220

    Kingdom of Zimbabwe

    Kingdom of Zimbabwe
    (1220 - 1450) When he Kingdom of Mapungubwe was abandoned, the people moved to the Zimbabwe area in South Africa and formed the new kingdom. Many of the traditions had been trasnferred over from the previous kingdom, including artistic traditions. This new kingdom continued with the monarchy and stayed there until people moved to the Mutapa area around 1450.
  • Jan 1, 1430

    Mutapa Conquest

    Mutapa Conquest
    Around 1430, while the Zimbabwe Kingdom existed, one of its princes, Nyatsimba Mutota, defeated the Tonga and Tavara. Their land became the Kingdom of Mutapa, which quickly prospered and overshadowed Zimbabwe in power, causing people from the Zimbabwe Kingdom to relocate to the new Kingdom of Mutapa (almost completely by 1450).
  • Oct 10, 1487

    Bartolomeu Dias

    Bartolomeu Dias
    On this day, Dias was appointed by the King of Portugal to be in charge of an expedition that would lead him around South Africa in order to find a good route for trading with India. He rounded the Cape of Good Hope before continuing on with his expedition. When he returned the same way, he discovered the Cape. This route became a potential path to trade with India.
  • Nov 4, 1497

    Vasco da Gama expedition

    Vasco da Gama expedition
    Vasco da Gama of Partugal took a course that led his expedition to the Cape Peninsula. It was a long journey to get there, taken by open ocean. Now there's a monument with a cross for Vasco da Gama at the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.
  • Jan van Riebeeck arrives in future Cape Town

    Jan van Riebeeck arrives in future Cape Town
    Jan van Riebeeck (with Dutch East India Company) had volunteered to lead the first Dutch settlement in what would become South Africa. He arrived in future Cape Town in 1652 and created a station that would re-supply ships what were sailing back and forth. He was in charge of building the settlement, and got livestock from the Khoi people, who had been living there before the arrival of the Dutch. The first fort was named Fort of Good Hope. Many Afrikaner's view him as the founding father.
  • Battle of Muizenberg

    Battle of Muizenberg
    A small battle between the British and the Dutch Cape Colony. The Dutch East India Company had been in control of the Cape of Good Hope, but they were slowly starting to fall apart. The British stepped in to gain control, and ended up winning the small battle. In the aftermath, the British gained controlled of the Dutch Cape Colony. It became Britain's second African colony and played a role during both World Wars. Under the British, English became a common language.
  • The Zulu Form a State

    The Zulu Form a State
    Shaka became the Zulu King after the Zulu state/monarchy was created. It started off small, but became a large kingdom that dominated modern KwaZulu-Natal area of S. Africa. Shaka was a warrior and the illegitmate son of the previous Zulu ruler who reformed the Zulu state, especially its army
  • Battle of Blood River

    Battle of Blood River
    This was a battle fought between the 470 Trekkers and around 15,000 to 21,000 Zulu attackers in South Africa. It ended with a victory for the Trekkers. Despite the difference in numbers, the Voortrekkers had gun powder. Only three Voortrekkers were injured, and none died, but over 3,000 of the Zulus died. The "Blood River" comes from the scene where the blood of the dead colored the river red.
  • South African general election, 1948

    South African general election, 1948
    This election marked the official beginning of apartheid. Previous to this election, the United Party, led by Jan Smuts, was in charge of the government. In this election, the Reunited National Party with D.F. Malan became victorious and created a social organization called apartheid (apartness) to protect white South Africans. The Nationalist Party had supported segregation from the beginning, and claimed the United Party's vague vision of eventual intergreation would lead to black dominance.
  • First Boer War/ Transvaal War

    First Boer War/ Transvaal War
    (16 Dec 1880- 23 March 1881)
    The First Boer War was between the British colonizers and the Boers from the Transvaal Republic and occured because the British Empire was expanding and annexed the Transvaal, who had problems with its government. The Boer's didn't want the British ruling Transvaal, so with help from the Orange Free State, they went to war. At the end of the war, Transvaal (the South African Republic) got its independence back.
  • Second Boer War

    Second Boer War
    (11 October 1899 - 31 May 1902)
    This Second Boer War was fought between the UK and the South African Republic (Transvaal Republic) and Orange Free State in South Africa (Swaziland). It was caused by many factors, including the discovery of gold and classhing political ideologies. The result of the Second Boer War was a victory for the British, who annexed the South African Republic and the Orange Free State. These territories would eventually become a part of the Union of South Africa.
  • Union of South Africa

    Union of South Africa
    The Union of South Africa existed before the Republic of South Africa, which exists in the present day. It was the unity the Cape Colony, the Natal Colony, the Transvaal Colony, and the Orange River Colony. All were seperate British colonies up to this point, so when they were united they were ruled as a constitutional monarchy. This union ended on the 31st of May in 1961 when South Africa became a republic.
  • African National Conress founded

    African National Conress founded
    The ANC was founded to fight against the injust government that oppressed the black South Africans. Famous for having Mandela on board, the ANC began with peaceful protests and campaigns against passes, but eventually doubted nonviolence was the answer. The goal of the ANC was to create a society where all people were equal, regardless of skin color.
  • ANCYL founded

    ANCYL founded
    The African National Congress Youth League is an addidtion to the ANC that included younger members who would someday rise to become leaders. It was founded by Ashley Peter Mda, Walter Sisulu, and Oliver Tambo, and its first President was Anton Lembede. They were involved in many protest and demonstrations, and many times met violently by the government.
  • Population Registration Act, 1950

    Population Registration Act, 1950
    Date Approved: 22 June 1950
    Date Commenced: 7 July 1950
    Date Repealed: 28 June 1991 The Population Registration Act made it mandatry for every person in South Africa to be legally classified into a race based on their racial characteristics. It was a big part of apartheid and made legal discrimination even easier.
    At first people were classified into three racial categories: Black, White, and Coloured. Later on, the category of Indians was added.
  • Group Areas Act, 1950

    Group Areas Act, 1950
    Approved 24 June 1950, began 30 March 1951, repealed 1 November 1957.
    The Group Areas Act consisted of three acts that the apartheid government enacted. Because of this act, different races were seperated into different areas and different homes. One of the goals of this was to keep all non-whites away from the most developed areas. Many were kicked out of their homes and to live far away from their previous home in smaller houses. Part of this act included the Pass Laws.
  • Natives Act of 1952/ Pass Laws Act

    Natives Act of 1952/ Pass Laws Act
    This act was known as the Pass Laws Act and made it mandatory for all black South Africans aged 16 and over to carry a pass book with them. The pass books looked a lot like passports, and included their photograph and information. If a black South African was found without a pass book in public, he/she could be arrested on the spot. Families might not even be notified. The discriminatory pass books became hated and sparked many protests and demonstrations.
  • Adoption of the Freedom Charter

    Adoption of the Freedom Charter
    The Freedom Charter was adopted in Cliptown by the Congress of People and united the ANC with the South African Indian Congress, the South African Congress of Democrats, and the Coloured People's Congress. The meeting ended when the police crashed it on the second day.
    The Freedom Charter calls for equal South Africa with no racial discrimination, as well as for democracy and equal rights for all humans beings, and many other things like land reform.
  • Sharpeville Massacre

    Sharpeville Massacre
    On this day, people were protesting the Pass Laws in Sharpeville and proceeded to go tothe police station. Originally probably meant to be a peaceful protest, things got out of hand and the police began shooting into the crowd. 69 people died from the open fire, out of the 5,000-7,000 that attended the protest. Many were shot in the back when they turned and were about to run away. The crowd might have been roused to go protest with a push from the PAC organization.
  • Unlawful Organizations Act, 1960

    Unlawful Organizations Act, 1960
    The Unlawfl Organizations Act of 1960 resulted in the banning of the ANC and the PAC. The Act meant that the apartheid government could ban organizations such as these two for being threatning to public order, and thus unlawful. Until it was repealed on July 2nd of 1982, organizations such as the ANC had to work underground in secret.
  • MK

    Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) means "Spear of the Nation," and it was the armed aspect of the ANC. It was co-founded by Nelson Mandela, though at first many ANC officials were hesitant. Up to tihs point, the ANC attempted at peaceful forms of resistence against apartheid, but after the Sharpeville massacre and other tragedies, certain people, like Mandela, began to wonder if more violent and aggressive routes have to be taken. The MK took action for the first time in 1961.
  • Rivonia Trial Begins

    Rivonia Trial Begins
    The Rivonia Trial lasted between 1963 and 1964. The ten defendants were charged for saboage and included Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mahlaba, Ahmed Kathrada, Lionel Bernstein, James Kantor, Dennis Goldberg, Elias Motsoaledi, and Andrew Mlangeni. These men had opposed apartheid and the accusations involved the MK. During the trial, Mandela made a famous speech and called the court illegitimate.
  • Mandela and 7 Allies Sentenced to Jail for Life

    Mandela and 7 Allies Sentenced to Jail for Life
    In the Rivonia Trial, eight men were accused of conspiracy, among them Nelson Mandela. As the trial grew to a close, Justice de Wet seemed to believe the eight men did commit treason, but decided instead to sentence them to life in jail instead of death. At this point, countries from around the world were paying attention to South Africa, and it wouldn't have been the best choice to give these men a death sentence. At the end, Mandela served 27 years in prison (18 on Robben Island.)
  • Soweto Uprising

    Soweto Uprising
    The Soweto Uprising involved protest by high school students from many schools in Soweto. They went to the streets protesting the new law that required schools to teach mosty in Afrikaans (but English as well). Afrikaans was viewed as the language of the oppressor, and it wasn't the home language of many of the students. In response, around 20,000 students protested, but the police opened fire and killed up to 400 children. High casualties, but this event grabbed the attention of other nations.
  • Death of Steve Biko

    Death of Steve Biko
    Steve Biko was the founder of he Black Consciousness Movement and an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa. Before that, he co-founded South African Students' Organization (SASO) with a goal to resist apartheid, which led to the BCM. He also founded the Black People's Convention. His activities eventually got him banned by the apartheid government. He couldn't speak publically, or to more than one person at a time, but he sneaked around that until he was caught and killed.
  • Nelson Mandela released

    Nelson Mandela released
    The South African President at that time, Frederik Willem de Klerk, freed Nelson Mandela on this day, who had been in jail for 27 years. F.W. de Klerk had been slowly taking apart apartheid policies since he became president in 1989 and had met with Mandela for discussions. Mandela's release was unconditional. Following that, all the political parties that were banned previously were now legalized (2 February 1990). Though Mandela complimented de Klerk on his actions, he later came to regret it.
  • Nobel Peace Prize

    Nobel Peace Prize
    In 1993, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to both Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk. They were awarded this prize because of their efforts toward ending apartheid in South Africa and helping it become a democracy. They were joint recipients of this award.
  • First democratic election

    First democratic election
    The first general election in South Africa where all citizens, regardless of race, were allowed to vote for their representatives. This happened four years after the end of apartheid, and, for three days, millions stood in line to have a voice. The ANC won with 62% of the votes, and the new National Assembly elected Nelson Mandela as President.