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South African Econmic Development

  • Jan 1, 1487

    Bartolomue Dias arrives

    Bartolomue Dias arrives
    Bartolomue Dias lands at Mossel Bay near the Cape of Good Hope
  • Jan 1, 1497

    Vasco da Gama arrives

    Vasco da Gama arrives
    Vasco da Gama lands at Mossel Bay. The Portuguese leave under bad terms
  • Jan van Riebeeck arrives

    Jan van Riebeeck arrives
    Jan van Riebeeck, a Dutch Merchant, establishes a settlement in Cape Town on behalf of Dutch East India company
  • The arrival of the English & Colonization

    The arrival of the English & Colonization
    Large number of English settlers arrive and & colonise the Eastern Cape. They establish large cattle ranches, relying on African labour. They engaged primarily in subsistence farming and produced little for export
  • Diamonds discovered

    Diamonds discovered
    Massive diamond deposits discovered in Kimberley, Cape Province
  • Gold is discovered

    Gold is discovered
    George Harrison discovers gold on the Main Reef on the western outskirts of Johannesburg
  • European investment

    European investment
    European investment begins to flow into South Africa
  • The first Gold Rush

    The first Gold Rush
    Gold rushes start taking place in Pilgrim's Rest and Barberton areas
  • The Battle of Isandlwana

    The Battle of Isandlwana
    Zulus defeat the British for the last time in The Battle of Isandlwana
  • Feorigners take over?

    Feorigners take over?
    More than 40,000 foreigners are living in Johannesburg, larger than the entire Boer population of the Transvaal Republic.
  • Anglo-Boer War

    Anglo-Boer War
    Anglo-Boer War starts. Boers invade British South Africa and besiege Ladysmith, Kimberley and Mafeking. Britain responds with a large army of their own
  • Significant economic development

    Significant economic development
    International banks and private lenders increase cash and credit available to local farmers, miners, and prospectors, and they in turn, placed growing demands for land and labor on the local African populations
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    Government economic policies

    In the first half of the twentieth century, government economic policies were designed to meet local consumer demand and to reduce the nation's reliance on its mining sector by providing incentives for farming and for establishing manufacturing enterprises
  • Cullinan diamond found

    Cullinan diamond found
    530.20 carat Cullinan I diamond is found near Pretoria. It is set in the Royal Scepter and kept with the other Crown Jewels in the Tower of London. It was cut from the 3,106-carat Cullian, the largest diamond crystal ever found.
  • Exports stimulate South African economy

    Exports stimulate South African economy
    South Africa is drawn into the international economy through its exports, primarily diamonds and gold, and through its own increasing demand for a variety of agricultural imports.
  • Union of South Africa created

    Union of South Africa created
    Creation of Union of South Africa, a semi-autonomous state under British colonial rule.
  • ANC is created

    ANC is created
    Concerned black South Africans hold a meeting in Bloemfontein in reaction to the abolition of African political rights in the Union of South Africa and the proposed Natives' Land Bill. Out of this the South African Native National Congress was born
  • Land Bank created

    Land Bank created
    Land Bank created
  • Native Land Act

    Native Land Act
    Native Land Act curtails rights to ownership of land by Black persons. It reserves most of the land for white ownership, forcing many black farmers to work as wage labourers on land they had previously owned
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    Manufacturing industry stimulation

    During the 1920s, to encourage the fledgling manufacturing industries, the government established state corporations to provide inexpensive electricity and steel for industrial use, and it imposed import tariffs to protect local manufacturers. Again black entrepreneurs were discouraged, and new laws limited the rights of black workers, creating a large pool of low-cost industrial labour
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    State dominates manufacturing industry

    By the end of the 1930s, the growing number of state-owned enterprises dominated the manufacturing sector, and black entrepreneurs continued to be pressured to remain outside the formal economy.
  • Native Land Act amended

    Native Land Act amended
    Native Land Act amended, black land ownership was restricted to 13 percent of the country, much of it heavily eroded
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    World War II & Manufacturing growth

    Manufacturing experienced new growth during and after World War II. Many of the conditions necessary for economic expansion had been present before the war. Cities were growing, agriculture was being consolidated into large farms with greater emphasis on commercial production, and mine owners and shareholders had begun to diversify their investments into other sectors
  • ANC Youth League established

    ANC Youth League established
    ANC Youth League is established. Prominent figures include Robert Sobukwe, Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, and Oliver Tambo
  • End of World War II

    End of World War II
    As the war ended, local consumer demand rose to new highs, and with strong government support, and international competitors at bay. Local agriculture and manufacturing began to expand
  • National Party comes to power

    National Party comes to power
    Nationalist Party comes to power under Dr Malan. Ascendency to power of Afrikaaner ideology
  • Apartheid begins

    Apartheid begins
    Apartheid comes into effect
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    Government intervention increases

    Government increased its role in the economy, especially in manufacturing. It also initiated large-scale programs to promote the commercial cultivation of corn and wheat. Government investments through the state-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) helped to establish local textile and pulp and paper industries, as well as state corporations to produce fertilizers, chemicals, oil, and armaments
  • Changes within the ANC

    Changes within the ANC
    Albert Luthuli becomes president of ANC, with Nelson Mandela as deputy president. Various non-violent civil disobedience campaigns undertaken to demonstrate against racially biased laws
  • Freedom charter adopted by ANC

    Freedom charter adopted by ANC
    The ANC adopts the Freedom Charter which states that South Africa belongs to all those people who live in South Africa, both black and white
  • Verwoerd Elected; Seperate development

    Verwoerd Elected; Seperate development
    Dr Verwoerd elected president. Separate development instituted by way of separate education, establishment of Black independent homelands, protectionist labour laws to ensure white job security
  • Sharpeville Massacre

    Sharpeville Massacre
    Sharpeville Massacre in which 76 peaceful demonstrators are killed for protesting against Pass Law. The government bans the ANC
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    Major drought

    Major drought causes Agriculture production to plummet
  • Republic of South Africa

    Republic of South Africa
    ANC carries out numerous sabotage activities; name of country changes to Republic of South Africa
  • Mining industry flourishes

    Mining industry flourishes
    Western Deep Levels Mine is opened and becomes the deepest mine in the world reaching nearly 4 kms. South Africa produces about 60% of the gold mined in the world. South Africans depend on gold as it is the country's main export and the nation's largest single industry and second largest employer
  • Rivonia Treason Trial

    Rivonia Treason Trial
    Leadership of ANC sentenced to life imprisonment for treason
  • Manufacturing takes centre stage

    Manufacturing takes centre stage
    Manufacturing and agricultural production expand rapidly. Manufacturing output exceeds that of mining
  • Black education instituted

    Black education instituted
    President Vorster extends apartheid policies to Black Education, forcing black students to study some subjects in Afrikaans. Police open fire on a peaceful protest by Soweto students killing many of them. Leads to national anarchy in which over 1000 people die, 4000 injured and 13000 arrested.
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    Gold price fluctuates

    Gold price fluctuates. South Africa's exchange rate and ability to import goods suffered.
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    Gold price downswings affect entire economy

    Manufacturing was seriously affected by downswings in the price of gold, in part because it relied on imported machinery and capital. Some capital-intensive industries were able to expand, but only with massive foreign loans. As a result, many industries were insulated from the rising labor militancy, especially among black workers, which sparked disputes and slowed productivity. Foreign banks cut short their loans because of mounting instability, even capital-intensive industries felt the impac
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    2nd Major drought

    Major drought causes Agriculture production to plummet
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    Chaos engulfs SA

    De facto civil war in most black residential areas. Characterised by media black-outs, increased police brutality, police sponsored ethnic factionalism, ANC bombings and secret service assasinations. Many multinational companies withdraw from South Africa.
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    Economy enters recession

    The economy enters a recession in response to worldwide economic conditions and long-term effects of apartheid. It registered only negligible, or negative growth in most quarters. High inflation had become chronic, driving up costs in all sectors. Living standards of black citizens either fell or remained dangerously low, while those of many whites also began to decline. Economic growth continued to depend on decent world prices for gold and on the availability of foreign loans
  • Ban lifted on ANC

    Ban lifted on ANC
    South African government lifts its ban on the ANC. Nelson Mandela released from prison and assumes leadership of the ANC
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    ANC vs. IFP

    Increased tension between ANC supporters and Inkhata Freedom Party. Many politically motivated murders and massacres
  • The Era of Nelson Mandela

    The Era of Nelson Mandela
    First ever non-racial democratic elections. The ANC, under the leadership of Nelson Mandela, became South Africa's ruling party
  • Thabo Mbeki jump starts the economy

    President Thabo Mbeki promotes economic growth and foreign investment by relaxing labour laws, increasing privatisation, and reducing government spending
  • Unemployment rate increases

    Unemployment reaches its highest ever level of 26.7%
  • Largest FDI to date

    Barclays buys a majority share in ABSA, resulting in the single largest foreign direct investment into South Africa to date.
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    Electricity crisis

    The economy began to slow due to an electricity crisis. State power supplier Eskom encountered problems with aging plants and meeting electricity demand necessitating "load-shedding" cuts in 2007 and 2008 to residents and businesses in the major cities
  • Global financial crisis

    Global financial crisis
    The global financial crisis reduced commodity prices and world demand
  • GDP soars

    South Africa's GDP hits an all-time high of $363.655
  • FIFA World Cup

    South Africa hosts the FIFA World Cup, bringing tourists in great numbers and providing increased investment into the economy. Government spends a significant amount of money on the tournament organization