The colonial history of South Africa

  • Mar 12, 1488

    European travels to South Africa

    European travels to South Africa
    The Portuguese navigator Bartholomeu Dias is the first European travelling round the southern tip of Africa.
  • Period: Apr 15, 1488 to

    The colonial history of South Africa

  • Nov 22, 1497

    Sea route to India

    Sea route to India
    Vasco da Gama, a Portuguese navigator, discovers the sea route to India around the Cape of Good Hope.
  • May 26, 1510

    The Portuguese viceroy

    The Portuguese viceroy
    The Portuguese viceroy Francisco de Almeida and many of his men die in Table Bay in a dispute of Khoi-Khoi because they stole them cattle.
    Since then the Portuguese avoid the Cape.
  • Jul 18, 1580

    Sir Francis Drake

    Sir Francis Drake
    An English admiral, Sir Francis Drake, rounds the Cape on his voyage round the world. He calls it "a most stately thing and the fairest cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth"
  • Exploring southern Africa

    Exploring southern Africa
    James Lancaster, an English navigator, starts to explore the southern African coast and establishes trade relationships with the Khoikhoi.
  • Period: to

    Exploring southern coast

    James Lancaster, an English navigator, explores the southern African coast and establishes trade relationships with the Khoikhoi.
  • Khoikhoi leader

    The Khoikhoi leader Autsumao, is taken to Batavia and is later returned to the Cape to serve as an interpreter. He also acts as the resident agent for the passing ships.
  • Arrival of Jan van Riebeeck

    Arrival of Jan van Riebeeck
    Jan van Riebeeck, a dutch man, arrives in Table Bay with his 90 men and three ships, De Reiger, De Drommedaris and De Goede Hoop.
    There he founded Cape Town, a supply colony for commercial ships.
  • Leave of Riebeeck

    Leave of Riebeeck
    Jan van Riebeeck leaves the Cape of Hope.
    250 white people live in a developing colony.
  • German governor

    Zacharias Wagenaer, the German governor of the Cape colony, succeeds Jan van Riebeeck as Commander of the Cape.
  • Dutch Reformed Church

    Dutch Reformed Church
    The first Dutch Reformed Church congregation was found at the Cape.
    Jan van Arkel was a bishop and the first minister of this congregation.
  • Calvinist church

    Calvinist church
    The first Calvinist church is built in the Cape.
  • Commander

    Cornelis van Qualbergen was appointed to Commander.
  • Exploring Mossel Bay

    Exploring Mossel Bay
    Hieronimus Cruse explores the southwest coast - Mossel Bay.
  • Start of Cape Colony

    The land of the Cape is purchased from the Khoikhoi. In this year, Cape Colony starts.
  • Castle of Good Hope

    Castle of Good Hope
    Building the Castele of Good Hope is completed.
  • The new governor

    The new governor
    Simon van der Stel was sent to the Cape to become the new governor.
  • Islamic leaders

    Deported Islamic religious leaders arrive from Batavia and build the Cape Malay community.
  • Refugees from France

    Refugees from France
    Hugenots flee from France because of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Some of them settle on the Cape, they become "their" area called Franschhoek (the French corner) from the Khoikhoi.
  • Commissioner

    Cape colonists send a commissioner to Europe. He should attrack more setllers for the Cape.
  • Trekboer

    Trekboer
    Settlers spread inland (east and north). These settlers are white farmers searching land for their cattle and called 'Trekboer'.
  • Settlers move inland

    Settlers move inland
    Settlers moved deeper into the country The settlers at the Cape spread to the East and the North. These settlement motion is led by the so-called Trekboer, white farmers who search land for their cattle and penetrate further and further inland.
  • Epidemic

    A smallpox epidemic breaks out at the Cape Colony.
  • System of freehold

    The system of freehold title ot land in the Cape ends.
  • First Jews

    First Jews
    The first Jewish congregation consecrates their first synagogue.
  • First Protestant

    First Protestant
    Georg Schmidt, the first Protestant missionary, arrives at the Cape.
  • Moravian station

    The first Moravian mission station in South Africa is established by Georg Schmidt.
  • VOC

    VOC
    The Dutch East India Company (VOC) establishes a magistracy at Swellendam.
  • New Dutch congregation

    The Dutch Reformed Church establishes a congregation in the Swartland.
  • Population count

    The number of slaves in the provinces is higher than that of European settlers.
    A population count shows that there are 5510 Europeans and 2372 slaves living in the Cape Colony.
  • 2nd epidemic

    A second smallpox epidemic breaks out at the Cape Colony and 2372 people die.
  • Cape wars

    Cape wars
    The first settlers spread out in the Western Cape, up to that time this is the retreat of the Khoisan.
    In 1770, they reach the east frontier of the Bantu and there are a series of wars against the Xhosa people.
    The Dutch from the Cape brings many slaves from Indonesia, Madagascar and India.
  • Policy in the Cape Colony

    Policy in the Cape Colony
    The VOC institutes a policy in the Cape Colony. They dictate schools to teach only in Dutch and have strict laws of assembly.
  • East border

    East border
    The Fish RIver becomes the eastern boundary of the Cape Colony.
  • War

    Britain declares war on the Netherlands.
  • French troops

    French troops arrive at the Cape Colony. Their mission is to guard the colony against the English.
  • First money

    First money
    The paper rix dollar is issued for the first time in the Cape Colony.
  • Treaty of Paris

    With signing the 'Treaty of Paris' the war between English and Dutch ends.
    The Dutch lost the most from this war.
  • Departing

    French troops departed the Cape.
  • French Revolution

    The French revolution starts.
    The VOC becomes financially unstable.
  • Commissioner general

    Commissioner general
    Sebastian Cornelius Nederburgh was appointed to commissioner general of the Cape.
  • Last governor

    Abraham Josas Sluyshen was appointed to governor of the cape.
    He is the last governor under the rule of the VOC.
  • Government

    Farmers expell officials of the VOC and establish an independent government.
    Also the start of free trade is announced.
  • Financial ruin

    The VOC is totally in financial ruins.
  • British power

    British power
    The Cape becomes a British colony.
  • First British governor

    First British governor
    The first British governor Lord Macartney arrives an Table Bay.
  • Ruin of VOC

    The VOC is finally liquidated. The first post office is established.
  • 1st mosque

    1st mosque
    The first mosque is established in Dorp Street.
  • Period: to

    3rd Cape Frontier war

    The Cape Frontier war is between white settlers and the Xhosas.
  • Start of printing

    The government starts printing and soon a Khoisan spelling book is printed.
  • Back to Dutch rule

    Back to Dutch rule
    After the Cape had been returned to the Dutch in terms of the Peace of Amiens (signed between England and France), British rule at the Cape comes to an end.
  • British rule again

    British rule again
    The colony comes under British rule again because of the alliance between Holland and Napoleon.