Khoi-San rise up in an unsuccessful but protracted rebellion in the eastern districts of the Cape in what becomes known as the Third War of Dispossession between the Khoi-San of the colonial authorities
Cape Colony: An official newspaper press is established. A Government Gazette is issued. The establishment of an official press forbids freedom of the press, with a heavy fine threatening anyone who attempts to publish. In July 1800 the Cape government orders the publication of a weekly newspaper called the Cape Town Gazette and African Advertiser.
Cape Colony: Ndlambe and his people settle to the west of the Fish River, an area from which the Dutch colonial administration had driven the AmaXhosa on a number of previous occasions.
The region of the AmaZulu is plagued by drought and accompanying famine. This leads to internal strife and social dislocation within the AmaZulu chiefdoms. The drought produces thousands of internal refugees.
1803 – 1806
The Cape is retroceded to Dutch rule under Batavian administration. Advocate A de Mist is elevated to the rank of Commissioner-General in order to receive the colony from Britain. He is also instructed to establish a new system of government for the Cape.
Lieutenant-General J Janssens is appointed Governor.
A mail service between Cape Town and Algoa Bay (present day Port Elizabeth) is inaugurated
Godongwana, a son of Jobe the Chief of the AmaMthethwa, attempts to seize power by plotting to assassinate his ageing father. The plot is foiled and Godongwana is sent into exile
A large group of Khoikhoi, deserting slaves, San, people of mixed ancestry and some who have problems integrating into the Cape colonial society trek from the Cape and settle at Klaarwater north of the Orange River. They are called “Basters” by the colonial authorities but name themselves Griqua, a name which has its possible origins in an old Khoikhoi clan, the Guriqua and which is recommended to them by the missionaries of the London Missionary Society who work amongst them
Khoikhoi runners are employed to deliver letters from Cape Town to drostdies (offices of magistrates) in the various districts of the Colony
The British occupy the Cape for a second time. After a skirmish between British troops and a Cape burgher militia at Blaauwberg, the Dutch capitulate. All property of the Batavian Government is surrendered to the British. The formal cession of the colony to the Britain takes place eight years later in 1814
Promulgation of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in Britain. Britain hereby bans slave trading which includes the importation of slaves to the Cape. However, ownership of slaves is still legal
Cape Colony: The Moravian missionaries are given the farm Groenekloof in the Malmesbury district to undertake missionary work among the freed slaves and Khoikhoi. The farm is later re-named Mamre. This grant marks the beginning of the founding of a number of Moravian missionary settlements amongst the Khoikhoi and later their descendants in the Western Cape, as well as amongst the AmaMfengu in the Eastern Cape
Cape Governor Caledon introduces a code, the so-called “Hottentot Proclamation” to regulate the use of Khoi-San and coloured labour to satisfy the labour needs of white farmers. This entails the curtailment of the freedom of movement to seek work, with a pass system being introduced as the regulatory tool
Jobe of the AmaMthethwa dies. His exiled son, Gogongwana, returns with a new name, Dingiswayo. He removes his brother who had taken over the chieftainship from their father, and proclaims himself Chief of the AmaMthethwa. The AmaMthethwa society and economy blossom under the rule of Dingiswayo although he had assumed power and ruled autocratically and by violent means
Shaka is appointed chief of the army of the AmaMthethwa
Circuit courts are introduced in the Cape Colony to which black employees are able to formally lodge complaints against ill treatment by their white employers
John Cradock replaces Caledon as Governor of the Cape as he is expected to follow a more aggressive policy towards the Colony’s eastern frontier than Caledon. His “frontier policy” results in hostilities breaking out between the colonists and the AmaXhosa.
The British government at the Cape appoints John Graham as its Commissioner for the eastern frontier
1811 – 1812
The Fourth War of Dispossession between the AmaXhosa and colonists takes place under the command of Commissioner John Graham. In a brutal battle against the AmaXhosa, which includes the indiscriminate shooting of women and other civilians as well as destruction of crops, the AmaXhosa are driven from the Zuurveld. Women and children are killed although the colonial authorities knew that the AmaXhosa only attack men as men are regarded as soldiers, while women are not. The AmaXhosa also never attacks male missionaries
The headquarters of the Cape Regiment is named Graham’s Town (subsequently Grahamstown) after Commissioner John Graham after his onslaught on the AmaXhosa
Cape Colony: The Apprentice Ordinance is promulgated which gives any white farmer the right to apprentice the children of his labourers for a period of ten years from the age of eight
1812 – 1813
Cape Colony: In an attempt to provide Khoikhoi and coloured employees with legal protection with regard to labour, “Circuit Commissions” are instituted. Many charges made by the labourers against their employers cannot be substantiated. However, the Commissions uncover the violence endemic to the system of master-servant relationship.
In the so-called public “Black Circuit” court hearings and sittings, numerous white employees are convicted of ill treatment of their employees. Missionaries such as James Read play a significant role in making the ill-treatment of labourers by their employees public, leading to the conviction and punishment of the worst perpetrators. The circuit courts and the support they enjoy from missionaries lead to tensions between the white settlers on the one hand and their servants and labourers and some missionaries on the other.
Governor Sir John Cradock passes plans for the introduction of white English-medium schools throughout the Cape Colony
The founding of the Cape Town Free School for needy white children
Cape Colony: Fiscal Daniel Dennijson codifies the Cape Slave Trade Law
Cape Colony: The Griqua at Klaarwater create the beginnings of a political state. The head of state is a Kaptyn (Captain). Adam Kok II and Barend Barends are elected Provisie Kaptyns (temporary Captains)
With the official cession of the Cape from the Batavian Government to Britain, Charles, Lord Somerset is made Governor of the Cape
Cape Colony: The colonial army crushes the Slachter’s Nek Rebellion of white farmers against perceived British philanthropic policies in favour of the black population
Cape Colony: Governor Lord Somerset forces Ngqika into an alliance with the Cape government in terms of which the latter has to prevent cattle raiding on the eastern frontier. This alliance causes friction amongst the chiefs of the AmaXhosa
Shaka assumes supreme power over the AmaZulu
One of the most influential diviners of the AmaXhosa, Ntsikana Gaba, converts to Christianity
Dingiswayo, Chief of the AmaMthethwa, wanders out of his military camp and is captured by Zwide, Chief of the AmaNwandwe. He is executed by Zwide and, left without its leader, the AmaMthethwa Confederacy collapses. The ensuing power vacuum allows the rise to regional prominence of the AmaZulu under the leadership of their young paramount chief, Shaka
1818 – 1819
Cape Colony: The Fifth War of Dispossession takes place as a result of Governor Somerset lifting 23 000 head of cattle belonging to Ndlambe who had been accused of alleged stock theft
Ndlambe inflicts defeat over the British ally Ngqika’s forces at Amalinde.
Colonial forces heavily defeat Ndlambe’s forces when he takes the battle to Grahamstown.
The alliance between Ngqika and the Cape government is destroyed when Governor Somerset appropriates land between the Fish and the Keiskamma Rivers. The land was to serve as a buffer between the Colony and the AmaXhosa. The Cape government declares the Keiskamma River its eastern border
The AmaZulu under Shaka’s military leadership defeat the AmaNdwandwe at Gqokoli Hill
Approximately 5 000 British settlers from economically depressed regions of Britain arrive in Algoa Bay in the eastern Cape to increase the size of the white settler population. Upon arrival it is revealed to them that they are also required to act as a civilian defence force against the indigenous people on whose land they are settled. They are allocated land in the Zuurveld, next to the Fish River
Port Elizabeth is founded
The rise of the kingdom of the AmaZulu continues the already violent dispersal of neighbouring political entities competing with each other and with British and Boer colonisers for land and basic resources. This troubled period goes down in official South African history as either the Mfecane (IsiZulu) or Difaqane (SeSotho) which literally means “forced dispersal” or “forced migration” because the upheavals caused thousands of refugees. The AmaMfengu, for example, flee to the eastern Cape Colony, to the lands of the AmaXhosa. The fleeing political entities engage in armed skirmishes for land with kingdoms and chiefdoms which they encounter during their flight. This conflict continues for a number of years throughout the southern African region. Until the 1990s the view that the upheavals were caused solely by the alleged tyranny of Shaka’s rise to power. This view has subsequently been challenged, with some historians disputing the existence of the Mfecane or Difaqane at all. Instead historians identify increasing pressure on the various communities that populated the region as colonisers move in and colonisers and indigenous people fight each other for the dwindling resources. This phenomenon is seen as a direct result of an increase in population and a quest for power
King Moshoeshoe moves the capital of the Basotho people to the Butha Buthe Mountain to escape the ravages of the upheavals commonly called the Mfecane or Difaqane
Cape Colony: The missionaries of the London Missionary Society play a significant role in forming the Griqua state. With the arrival of the authoritarian missionary Robert Moffat at Griquatown, the role of the missionaries lead to internal strife in the Griqua community
Cape Colony: Adam Kok II and his followers leave Griquatown for the area of the Riet River. The Griqua community is without a political leader.
Andries Waterboer is elected the new leader or Kaptyn of the Griquas
Cape Colony: A large group of Griqua leave their community and join up with groups of Koranna people. Together they eke out their existence by raiding cattle and attacking the various communities along the Orange and Vaal Rivers causing increased instability in the region. These roving bands are called “Bergenaars”
Cape Colony: The London Missionary Society, under the direction of Dr Philip, establish a mission station for the San community at Philippolis
AmaNgwane cross the Drakensberg and enter the Caledon River valley. AmaMfengu refugees of the upheavals called the Difaqane settle in eastern Cape
Cape Colony: The London Missionary Society establishes southern Africa’s first printing press in the Tyhume Valley. Materials advancing missionary education and activities are printed. Eleven years later, in 1834, a printing press is built in Genadendal, the first Moravian missionary settlement. It is still operational
The Cape government introduces a series of so-called “ameliorative” laws which attempts to improve the relationship between slave owner and slave by determining the nature of punishment that slave owners would be allowed to mete out, regulating working hours and the provision of food and clothes for slaves. The legislation outlaws public flogging, particularly of female slaves
The AmaKhumalo, under Mzilikazi, move north of the Vaal River as a result of the upheavals called the Difaqane
The AmaTlokwa besiege the Basotho. They flee from Butha Buthe and found a new capital, Thaba Bosiu
Shaka grants generous land and other rights to two British traders and adventurers Lieutenant Francis Farewell and Henry Fynn who pretend to be envoys of the British monarch and who establish fiefdoms on the land granted them. They are involved in illicit trade. When the colonial government becomes aware of their criminal activities, the men attempt to divert the attention of the colonial authorities from themselves, instead claiming to the British and Cape governments that Shaka and his people are “barbarians”, and that Britain should annex Zululand. Together with another adventurer, Nathaniel Isaacs, these men determine the stereotype of Shaka as the “barbaric despot” that needed to be civilised by a colonising imperial Britain
Cape traders settle at Port Natal, later renamed Durban
The Dutch Reformed Church convenes its first synod
South Africa’s first lighthouse is built at Green Point, Cape Town
Cape Colony: An uprising of slave and Khoikhoi labourers against their owners takes place in the Worcester district. Slaves are increasingly demanding the vindication of their rights in terms of the amelioration legislation that had been introduced as of 1823
The Cape colonial frontier is extended northwards to the Orange River
The depreciated rix dollar is converted into British curren
Adam Kok II is elected Kaptyn of the Griquas in the Riet River area as well as of the “Bergenaars”
Paul Kruger, who is to become the most influential president of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (ZAR), is born
The Cape colonial government approves the election of Adam Kok II. Due to internal strife Adam Kok II resigns some months later. He is succeeded by Cornelius Kok II
Cape Colony: Legislation is passed to reform the justice system. Jury in the Cape Colony institutes the Cape Charter of Justice, which introduces trial
The Cape Parliament passes Ordinance 19 which provides for the appointment of a Guardian of Slaves to ensure that slave owners adhere to the extent of punishment that they are allowed to mete out to their slaves. Slaves could lodge complaints of violations of the “ameliorative” legislation to the Guardian of Slaves or his assistants who were required to investigate the accusations and take action against the perpetrators.
Ordinance 19 also provided for slaves to have their freedom bought for them by family members.
Slave owners rise up in protest against Ordinance 19
In one of the numerous skirmishes that form part of the Difaqane combined forces of the colonial government, AmaXhosa, AmaThembu and white soldiers and farmers defeat Matiwane, Chief of the AmaNgwane at the Battle of Mbholompo in an attempt to restore some stability in the region. Matiwane returns to Zululand where Dingane executes him.
His brother Dingane who succeeds him as paramount leader of the AmaZulu assassinates Shaka
Cape Colony: Promulgation of Ordinance 50, which aims at ensuring equality before the law of “every free inhabitant in the Colony” is introduced. Effectively this Ordinance curtails the power that an employer has over his employee. It also exempts Coloureds from carrying passes. Furthermore the Ordinance revises the Apprenticeship Ordinance of 1812 by requiring that children could only be apprenticed with the consent of their parents. Finally, magistrates no longer have the power to administer corporal punishment
Freedom of the press is recognised by the Cape government
The Griqua leader Cornelius Kok II dies. Adam Kok II once again becomes the political leader of the Griquas
The fertile land in the basin of the Kat River in the Cape is granted to two hundred and fifty Khoikhoi and coloured families. This marks the beginning of what came to be known as the Kat River Settlement. This area is regarded as particularly strategic in the struggle between the AmaXhosa and the colonial government for the land of the AmaXhosa. The settlement is designed as a buffer zone of the eastern frontier. Hence the inhabitants are armed by the colonial government, despite objections by white settlers in the region. The settlement soon develops into a self-sufficient farming community supported by much missionary activity, a phenomenon which further irates the white farmers because it means that the well-organised settlers of the Kat River could not be hired as underpaid labourers on their farms
Cape Colony: In the face of attacks by the British colonial authorities the Rharhabe and Gcaleka polities reconcile and establish peace between them in order to ward off colonial aggression as a combined force
The South African College is founded in Cape Town in order to advance higher education in the colonist society as higher education was lagging behind elementary education
The Basotho kingdom of King Moshoeshoe comes under threat from marauding mounted and armed “Bergenaars”, defectors from the Griqua and Korana polities. Moshoeshoe introduces horses that are adapted to his mountainous kingdom and arms his subjects to meet the threat. With this strategy they successfully beat off the “Bergenaars” as well as subsequent attacks on the Basotho kingdom. The kingdom is able to maintain its sovereignty and is an independent state today
King Moshoeshoe of the Basotho invites missionaries to assist him with the consolidation of a modern state. Two missionaries from the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society, Thomas Arbousset and Eugene Casilis, as well as the artisan Constant Gosselin assist with this project. Moshoeshoe instructs the missionaries to establish villages south of the capital Thabo Bosiu along the frontier with the Korana under the leadership of his sons Letsie and Molapa. The establishment of villages along threatened borders become a pattern when other missionaries follow the first missionaries to ensure that the King’s authority is recognised by potential attackers
The British Parliament passes an emancipation decree, the Abolition Act, which abolishes the system of slavery, but which writes a kind of indentured labour system, called “apprenticeship”, into the legislation. This is to ensure that the slave-based economies of the British Empire do not collapse as a result of the end of slavery
Cape Colony: Official emancipation of slaves. Although legally emancipated, the Cape slaves are indentured as “apprentices” to their owners for a period of four years. Despite the system of “apprenticeship”, numerous slaves desert their owners, while those who remain to serve their “apprenticeship” increasingly adopt a less subordinate attitude towards their masters. Desertion and insubordination hence become characteristic of the slave-master relation after Emancipation. It is estimated that the slave population of the Cape stood at 59 000 souls at Emancipation
The newly appointed Governor of the Cape Colony, Sir Benjamin D’Urban, establishes Executive and Legislative Councils to determine the parameters of legislative and executive authority in the Colony. Although no one could be elected onto the Council, freedom of debate was guaranteed and most legislative initiatives had to pass through the Council for approval
Beginning of the migration out of the Cape Colony by groups of armed Boer farmers in what is to go down in South African history as the Great Trek. Preparations for the migration were done secretly in 1834. The key organisers, Louis Trichardt, Hans van Rensburg, Hendrick Potgieter and Gert Maritz kept their scouting preparations a secret from the British authorities, thereby making an accurate reconstruction of events historically unreliable.
The widely accepted reasons for the Great Trek are regarded as political, economic and social. Boer farmers migrated from the authority of the British colonial government of the Cape whom they perceive as being politically unsympathetic to their needs. Policy decisions taken in London meant that the Boer farmer were no longer allowed to expand their farms and grazing areas at the expense of the indigenous population with impunity. Ordinance 50 of 1828 granted Khoikhoi and Coloureds, the traditional servants and slaves of the Boer farmers not only the freedom to seek work, but also to own land. This leads to a shortage of labour for Boer farmers. In addition Ordinance 50 put all “free inhabitants” of the Colony on equal political footing before the law. This political act is unacceptable to the Boers who regard Blacks as uncivilised heathen and therefore inferior to Whites. Finally, the gradual introduction of a cash economy means that also Boer farmers have to engage in surplus farming in order to get cash. Boer farmers had been accustomed to a bartering economy
1834 – 1835
AmaXhosa chiefdoms invade the Cape Colony in an attempt to regain the land that the Cape government had appropriated from them in previous wars. This goes down in history as the Sixth War of Dispossession. The Governor, Sir Benjamin D’Urban, sends in the Cape regiment troops as well as African allies to effect a devastation of the invading AmaXhosa. The target of the military action is less the armed AmaXhosa as the basis of their livelihood. Hence D’Urban orders the destruction of whole villages and all the crops and food supplies. An AmaXhosa nation thus impoverished and devastated would be forced to accept colonial authority and rule.
With the AmaXhosa defeated and stripped of their means of production and existence, D’Urban annexes all their land between the Kei and Keiskamma rivers and expels the AmaXhosa living there. The annexed land is called the Province of Adelaide.
The London Missionary Society missionary, Dr John Philip intervenes on behalf of the AmaXhosa. As a result of his report to the British government, D’Urban is forced to reverse his annexation policy. Philip and the London Missionary Society had in the past persuaded the British government of the injustice and belligerence of Cape colonial polices towards the indigenous people of the Cape. His Researches in South Africa which was published in 1828 formed the basis of the British government’s decision to act against some Cape colonial policies.
Missionaries are instrumental in the first publication of an IsiXhosa grammar in Grahamstown
Cape Colony: Ordinance 1 lays down the number of hours that an “apprentice” is required to work in gardens or on fields. This does not apply to domestic service. Most provisions of this Ordinance prove to be unenforceable.
Ordinance 1 forbids slave owners from meting out punishment. A judicial and magisterial system is introduced to implement punishment in an attempt to establish the “rule of law” in the Cape Colony
The trekking groups move north and east of the Cape Colony, and during the Trek seize in violent skirmishes and also protracted battles the land of African political entities that they encounter
Hintsa, the Paramount Chief of the AmaXhosa, is illegally captured under a flag of truce and the pretext of peace negotiations by the military troops of the Cape Governor, Sir Benjamin D’Urban. Both the Governor and his Colonel, Sir Harry Smith, who unsuccessfully try to force him, under the threat of being hanged, to convince the AmaXhosa to surrender to the colonial government during the Sixth War of Dispossession, interrogate him for days. They murder him while he attempts to escape. His ears are taken as trophy
Cape Colony: Andries Stockenström, Lieutenant Governor of the Eastern Districts, restores the Province of Queen Adelaide, land that had been annexed during the Sixth War of Dispossession, to the AmaXhosa at the instruction of Britain. This follows his testimony to the Aborigines Commission in London in which he describes the freedom with which settlers are allowed to counter-raid suspected cattle thieves among the AmaXhosa as a significant reason for the outbreak of warfare on the frontier. Stockenström also institutes a “treaty system”, that recognises the independence and authority of the AmaXhosa chiefs. This causes tension between him and Governor Sir Benjamin D’Urban who had been overlooked by Britain in the making of this policy
Passing of the Cape of Good Hope Punishment Act which attempts to control the movement of trekboers and Voortrekkers
The AmaNdebele under the leadership of their king, Mzilikatsi, pose the biggest challenge to the marauding Voortrekkers during the course of the Great Trek. In a series of bloody battles they defeat the AmaNdebele, most notably by Hendrick Potgieter from his main laager at Vegkop. The Battle of Vegkop, while signalling a victory for the Boers, demands a great toll on lives on both sides as well as on their stocks of cattle and trek oxen. Chief Moroka of the Barolong and his missionary Archibell come to the rescue of the Voortrekkers with food and oxen
Voortrekker leaders Andries Potgieter and Pieter Uys, with the aid of the Griqua, Barolong, Koranna and BaTlokwa, seize the stronghold of Mzilikatsi in Mosega and drive him and his people out of the region towards the Marico Valley in the north. The Voortrekkers conclude “friendship” treaties with their allies in the defeat of Mzilikatsi
1837 – 1838
The forces of Potgieter and Uys attack Mzilikatsi anew. This time they drive him and his people beyond the Limpopo River into what is present day Zimbabwe. Potgieter and Uys seize the land of the AmaNdebele
The Voortrekker leader and spokesperson, Piet Retief, sets out in a “Manifesto” the reasons for the Great Trek. One of the main reasons is the perceived lack of sympathy of the colonial government to the political and economic demands of the Boers, which is expressed in the passing of legislation that aims at placing Black and White on equal footing before the law
Dissension amongst the Voortrekkers causes them to split. Piet Retief and his followers trek eastwards to Port Natal, which will later be known as Durban. Other groups move northwards
Piet Retief visits Dingane, Chief of the AmaZulu, to negotiate an apparent claim to the land between the Tugela and Mzimvubu Rivers in exchange for cattle and rifles. The cattle are delivered but not the rifles. Dingane orders the execution of Retief and his negotiating party
The Voortrekker Republic of Natalia is established
The Voortrekkers, who by now have settled on the land seized from the various African chiefdoms in battles, attempt to organise themselves as a state. They draw up the framework of a Constitution which entrenches the superiority of White over Black and a racial master-servant social order.
The main institution of the new state is a Volksraad (people’s council or assembly), a body comprising twenty-four elected men. The Volksraad combines legislative, judiciary and executive powers. The British colonial government does not recognise the Republic of Natalia and hence occupy Port Natal, thereby denying the newly founded republic access to the harbour that is the potential gateway to the eastern trade routes
AmaZulu regiments are defeated by the military superiority of the Voortrekkers at the Battle of Blood River, a revenge attack for the murder of Piet Retief and the subsequent attack on Boer laagers at Weenen. The AmaZulu lose an estimate of three thousand troops
The kingdom of the AmaZulu breaks into civil war. Mpande, chief military advisor and brother of the King of the AmaZulu, overthrows Dingane with the assistance of Voortrekkers, who capture children to work as their servants. Dingane flees into Swazi territory. Pretorius instates Mpande as king. The Republic of Natalia annexes the southern region of Zululand
The Voortrekkers lift thousands of head of Mzilikatsi’s cattle and distribute them amongst the Boer farmers
Andries Hendrick Potgieter founds Potchefstroom as the capital of the new Transvaal Republic, north of the Orange River
Louis Trichardt, a Voortrekker leader moves with his following to Delagoa Bay. He dies there
Britain occupies Port Natal. It is later named Durban
Cape Colony: The “apprenticeship” of slaves, formally emancipated in 1834, ends. This marks the factual end of slavery in the Cape, as the “apprentices” are officially no longer slaves
Civil war of a kind breaks out in the strife-ridden Griqua confederacy as the various leaders and their following, each group aided by a missionary, fight each other to establish who would be the most senior leader of the confederacy. A treaty is concluded between the two Kaptyne,Adam Kok III and Andries Waterboer, which provided for a Joint Council to act as a Supreme Court for these two captaincies
1838 – 1843
The Republic of Natalia recruits Tsonga men from Moçambique to fill their labour needs
The town of Pietermaritzburg is founded. It is named after the Voortrekker leaders Gert Maritz and Piet Retief. It becomes the capital of the newly established Voortrekker Republic of Natalia
Cape Colony: Passing of the Cape Masters and Servants Ordinance which supersedes Ordinance 50 of 1828 by disqualifying racial distinction between servants. White and coloured servants as well as ex-slaves are placed on equal legal footing in terms of criminal sanctions for breach of contract
After the Battle of Blood River of 1838 there is considerable movement in the Zululand-Natal region as refugees enter Natal to return to their homelands that had been absorbed into Shaka’s kingdom. While the increased number of Africans means that the problem of labour for Boer farmers was being solved, the Boers perceive the presence of tens of thousands of Africans in Natalia as a security threat. Hence the Volksraad determines that all “surplus” Africans, that is, Africans who are not working for Whites, be moved to the area between the Mtamvuba and the Mzimvubu Rivers
Cape Governor George Napier issues a proclamation against the incursions by Boers of the territories of the Basotho and Griqua. This is the result of interventions to both the imperial and colonial governments about Boer aggression against the indigenous population by Adam Kk III and Dr John Philip of the London Missionary Society
A severe drought breaks out in the eastern region of the Cape Colony. This leads to cattle theft by both settlers and AmaXhosa. It marks the decline of the treaty system introduced by Stockenström in 1836 and sets the scene for yet another war on the frontier
British forces of Governor Sir George Napier annex the Republic of Natalia, which becomes a British colony. The annexation comes in the wake of a military intervention in 1842 when British forces attempt to pre-empt a n by other European imperialist powers and when the Voortrekker head of state, Andries Pretorius, stages a failed siege against the British.
As a result of the strength of British intervention, Mpande agrees to cede St Lucia Bay to the British. Furthermore he signs a treaty which restricts the AmaZulu to the region south of the Tugela River
The entrenchment of merino sheep farming in the eastern regions of the Cape Colony changes its socio-economic as well as the political arena. Merino farmers are intent upon gaining access to more grazing land, despite the fact that the land that they want belongs to the AmaXhosa.
As Boer merino sheep farmer contingents look to expanding their grazing areas by violent means and marauding Griqua groups called “Bergenaars” raiding the region, Moshoeshoe’s kingdom is constantly threatened by these groups. The Governor, Sir George Napier, supports Moshoeshoe’s claim to his territory, by concluding a treaty with the Basotho king in which the Basotho territory is determined as all the land between the Orange and Caledon Rivers. Moshoeshoe is granted a salary of £75 to maintain order in his newly defined territory
Cape Governor Napier signs an agreement with the Griqua leader Adam Kok III to maintain order in his territory in return for an annual salary of £100. Unlike the treaty with Moshoeshoe, Kok’s treaty does not define the limits of his territory
Sir Peregrine Maitland becomes Governor of the Cape Colony. His first action is to rescind the treaty system introduced by Stockenström in 1836. In its place he places his own treaty system which fore spells conflict on the eastern frontier because the new system gives farmers the right to follow up on allegedly stolen cattle and to demand equivalent compensation if they could not find the cattle. The treaty system also allows for the erection of military fortifications in ceded territory. Tribunals at which farmers could lodge complaints against chiefs and Diplomatic Agents are part of Maitland’s new treaty system. Finally, African converts to Christianity no longer fall under the jurisdiction of their chiefs
Fighting breaks out between the Boers and the Griqua as the former refuse to accept Kok’s jurisdiction over them
The new Governor of the Cape Colony, Sir Peregrine Maitland, sends troops into the area to counter Boer attacks on the Griqua in compliance with the treaties Napier had signed with the Griqua and the Basotho. The Boers are defeated by the British with their Griqua allies in the Battle of Zwartkoppies. This skirmish marks the first open shooting exchange between Boers and British
Cape Governor Sir Peregrine Maitland concludes a treaty with Adam Kok III. In terms of this “Maitland Treaty” the land of the Griqua is divided into “alienable” and “inalienable” areas. Griqua are permitted to hire farmland in the alienable areas to Boers who are British subjects for a period of no more than forty years. A British Resident is placed in the region to oversee the implementation of the conditions of the treaty
After the annexation of the Republic of Natalia by the British in 1843, Natal becomes an autonomous district of the Cape Colony. The most important government offices are held by Martin West, who is made Lieutenant Governor, Hendrick Cloete who takes on the position of Chief Justice and Sir Theophilus Shepstone who is appointed the “Diplomatic Agent to the Native Tribes”
Chief Justice Cloete and Sir Theophilus Shepstone set up the Locations Commission to investigate the feasibility of segregating black and white in Natal. Seven locations are initially established, financed in the main by a hut tax imposed on Africans. Shepstone introduces the system whereby the hereditary chiefs are responsible for the immediate running of the locations. The system comes under attack from white settlers who fear that self-sufficient locations would rob them of cheap black labour
1846 – 1847
The Seventh War of Dispossession against the western AmaXhosa or AmaNgqika goes down in history as the War of the Axe as the ostensible reason for the colonial attack on the western AmaXhosa is the theft of an axe which leads to the detention of the thief and the subsequent freeing of the thief by his fellow clansmen.
The real reasons for this war are to be found in the persistent efforts by the colonial government to seize the land of the western AmaXhosa and the agitation in the Graham’s Town Journal that the Province of Queen Adelaide be given to the settlers, land that had been seized by the colonial troops during the Sixth War of Dispossession of 1834, but which Britain had decreed should be returned to the AmaXhosa.
The conflict is a full-scale war with the western AmaXhosa being the more victorious side. They adopt the British tactic of a scorched earth policy, which does not only wreak havoc on the colonial troops but also within the western AmaXhosa chiefdom. Despite the imminent defeat of the colonial troops, the AmaXhosa offer to end hostilities. The British colonial troops realising that the offer of peace was because the AmaXhosa were running out of food supplies, demand their unconditional surrender and the annexation of all land west of the Kei River
The western AmaXhosa resist the British conditions of peace while simultaneously refusing to engage in warfare. Maitland thereupon attacks the homes, remaining cattle and crops as well as the grain bins of these AmaXhosa. Hence the defeat of the AmaXhosa by the British colonial forces is ultimately not effected on the battlefields but in the homesteads of a people passively resisting warfare
Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Harry Smith is appointed Governor of the Cape. He embarks on aggressive expansionist politics
With the defeat of the AmaXhosa in the War of the Axe the Cape colonial government in the person of the newly appointed Governor and High Commissioner, Sir Harry Smith, extends the Colony to the Keiskamma River. Smith also creates a new colony on the land of the AmaNgqika, which he names British Kaffraria. AmaXhosa are allowed to live in that region as British subjects
Cape Governor Sir Harry Smith meets with the Griqua leader Adam Kok. He rescinds the land tenure system that Sir Peregrine Maitland had negotiated with the Griqua in 1846. The new agreement is loaded to the advantage of the British Crown and the white farmers in the region. Smith demands that all rent accrued from white tenant farmers on Griqua land north of the Riet River be paid to the Crown. Maitland had demanded half of the rental. Smith also decrees that white farmers be allowed to settle on Griqua land south of the Riet River which Maitland had forbidden
Cape Governor Sir Harry Smith meets with King Moshoeshoe and the chiefs of the Basotho in Winburg. He proclaims the sovereignty of the British Crown over all the land between the Orange and the Vaal rivers, which includes land of the Basotho. White farmers are not allowed to acquire new land in the region except in Adam Kok’s territory, Griqualand. At this meeting Moshoeshoe lays claim to the territories of the chiefs Moroka and Sekonyela. With Smith’s support Moshoeshoe is able unify the scattered chiefdoms and consolidate these under his sole rule. He is also able to gain British protection against claims of white farmers to his land
Cape Governor Sir Harry Smith, assuming that he is acting with the popular approval of the trekboer community in that region that they become British subjects, expands British authority by annexing the area north of the Orange or Gariep River known as Transorangia. The annexed land becomes known as the Orange River Sovereignty. The annexation is met with hostility and the Voortrekker leader Andries Pretorius leads a commando against Smith. The British with the assistance of the Griquas defeat theVoortrekkers at the Battle of Boomplaats. The region comes under full British control
Cape Governor Sir Harry Smith instructs the British Resident of the newly constituted Orange River Sovereignty, Major Henry Warden, to set up boundaries between the black and white communities in the land north of the Caledon River based on their occupation of that region. He is further instructed not to cede land to the black communities where there may be overlapping of occupation between Black and White. The boundaries come to be known as the “Warden Line” and is promulgated in 1849. Moshoeshoe, the King of the Basotho loses large areas of his territory
Cape Colony: The inhabitants of the Kat River Settlement come under great government pressure when Governor Sir Harry Smith recommends to his Legislative Council the promulgation of “vagrancy” legislation to evict “idlers” from the settlement. His intention is to satisfy the settlers’ demand that the inhabitants of the Kat River Settlement be forced to work for them. The hostile reaction of the Kat River inhabitants forces Smith to abandon this scheme
After the defeat of the western AmaXhosa in the War of the Axe the Cape colonial governor, Sir Harry Smith, exercises an extreme form of authoritarian governance over the AmaXhosa. He introduces military rule in British Kaffraria, which entails severe punishment for even petty crimes, the impounding of cattle for alleged trespassing and the indenturing of “kaffir youths” to white farmers. The chiefs of the AmaXhosa openly defy some conditions of Smith’s rule
1850 – 1853
Sandile, Paramount Chief of the AmaNgqika, with the support of the AmaGcaleka and AmaThembu resist Cape Governor Sir Harry Smith’s harsh rule by launching a series of attacks on colonial patrols and administrative stations, including an attack on Fort Beaufort in 1851. These attacks mark the beginning of the Eighth War of Dispossession.
Sir Harry Smith’s magistrate for the Kat River Settlement, Thomas Holden Bowker invades the Settlement with AmaXhosa police to evict “squatters”. During the eviction campaign homes are burned and crops destroyed. Hundreds of people are left homeless. This attack precedes the outbreak of the Eighth War of Dispossession by six months. The inhabitants of the Kat River Settlement join the war on the side of the AmaXhosa hoping for a victory that would rid them of the threat posed by the settlershttp://www.sahistory.org.za/pages/chronology/general/’ greed for their land and labour
Cape Colony: The Kat River Settlement rises up in rebellion. Willem Uithalder, the leader of the rebel groups, launches attacks in the Fort Beaufort district and occupies Fort Armstrong. The rebellion is successfully crushed by the colonial artillery troops. Rebels who survive the crushing of the uprisings are found guilty of high treason. Their death sentences are commuted to life sentences of hard labour, such as the building of roads. The Settlement slides rapidly into economic decline. Rebel land is appropriated and given to white farmers who buy up the remaining arable land.
The promulgation of the “Warden Line” leads to conflict in that region as the various communities vie for land. When the Basotho and the Kora and Griqua communities become involved in cattle raiding, Warden musters a force and attacks the detractors of his division of the territory. He suffers a crushing defeat at the Battle of Viervoet. He also loses authority over the Voortrekkers in the region
The British Government sends two special Commissioners, WS Hogge and CM Owen to meet with Voortrekker representatives under the leadership of Andries Pretorius at Sand River to negotiate around the question of who rules the Voortrekkers. Hogge and Owen sign an agreement with the Voortrekkers, guaranteeing them the right to rule themselves. The Voortrekkers have to undertake not to enter into any alliance with the black communities of the region or to trade in arms and ammunition with them. Their system of slavery, known as the inboekseling system, is prohibited. The Sand River Convention, as the agreement becomes known, forms the basis for the establishment of the republican state north of the Vaal River called the “Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek”
Sir George Cathcart becomes Governor of the Cape Colony. He leads the defeat of the AmaXhosa. Settlers gain the land of the AmaXhosa in the Amatola Mountains.
As a result of their defeat during the Eighth War of Dispossession thousands of AmaXhosa and Coloureds are rendered landless, and impoverished, their political and social systems largely destroyed. Thus dislocated, they are forced to work on white farms as grossly underpaid labourers and at conditions set by white settlers and farmers
King Moshoeshoe is given to believe that the terms of the Sand River Convention means that the Basotho nation would have authority of the land to the south west of the new Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek. His soldiers hence attack white farmers still occupying those areas in order to re-establish Moshoeshoe’s sole authority and further the cause of the building of a unitary state of Basotho. The Basotho lift thousands of cattle in the attacks. The Cape Governor enters the region with a force of 2 000 soldiers and artillery. He sends Moshoeshoe an impossible ultimatum to deliver 10 000 head of cattle and 1 000 horses within three days, failing which he would attack the Basotho. Cathcart launches the attack and loses more men than the Basotho do. They lift several thousand cattle of the Basotho. In order to prevent further fighting that might destroy his kingdom, Moshoeshoe concedes “defeat” in a diplomatically worded letter to Cathcart
British Under-Secretary of State, Sir George Clerk, is sent to Bloemfontein in the Orange River Sovereignty to manage the withdrawal of the British troops after Moshoeshoe’s “defeat”
Moshoeshoe uses the fact of British withdrawal to drive Sekonyela of the BaTlokwa and his allies the Kora and Griqua from their strongholds that fall within what he regards as territory of the Basotho. Moshoeshoe thereby effectively places all southern Basotho who remain in the Caledon River region under his control. The BaRolong are an exception
Sir George Clerk enters into negotiations with the Voortrekker leaders and Whites loyal to the British Crown in the region. The agreement reached leads to the establishment of another Boer republic, namely the Orange Free State. The agreement called the Bloemfontein Convention transfers the government of the Orange River territory to the signatories of the Convention. The Convention document declares that no alliances with black political entities, except with Adam Kok of the Griqua is permitted. Furthermore Kok would be forced to abrogate his treaty with the British. The Convention makes no mention of the boundaries of the new state, and together with forcing Kok to abrogate his right to land in East Griqualand, the way is paved for more conflict in the region
The establishment of the republican Orange Free State marks the beginning of the disintegration of East Griqualand which had depended for the presence of the British in that region for their right to holding land
The British government grants the Cape Colony representative government. A Constitution is drawn up with provides the Colony with a non-racial but qualified franchise. The franchise is restricted to men only. All male citizens over the age of twenty-one years who own property valued at £25 per annum, or who receive an annual salary of £50, or whose annual salary is £25 but who receive free board and lodging, enjoy the franchise
Despite the fact that slavery is outlawed in the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek as a condition for independence from Britain, the Republic continues the systematic raiding African homesteads to capture African children and youth as slaves, as slavery had become an entrenched part of the Boer economies. The captives are called inboekselingen. The most notorious slave raider for the “black ivory”, as the children and youths are also known, is Hermanus Potgieter who terrorises the AmaNdebele leaving many adults dead in his wake.
In an attempt to stop these raids AmaNdebele troops under the leadership of Chiefs Mokopane and Mankopane attack Boer settlements. 42 Boers are killed. In retaliation Boers attack Mokopane. He and his people take refuge in a network of caves where they are besieged by hundreds of Boer commandos and 300 BaKgatla allies. The siege lasts 25 days. About 1 000 AmaNdebele, including Mokopane, die either of thirst or are shot as they try to escape from the caves or surrender. The victorious Boers take 700 women and children captive
Promulgation of the Masters and Servants Act by the Cape Government. The Act is designed to regulate labour relations and conditions of labour to the advantage of the white moneyed settlers over against their black labour force
Natal is granted limited responsible government. The Natal Constitution, unlike that of the Cape Colony, introduced a franchise system which made it effectively impossible for Blacks to gain the franchise. During the period in which Natal exercised responsible government only three black males enjoyed the franchise. Theophilus Shepstone is appointed Secretary for Native Affairs
The Natal Legislature passes rulings on the employment of indentured labour imported from India to satisfy the labour needs of coastal sugar planters
Civil war breaks out in the kingdom of the AmaZulu as Cetshwayo and his brother, Mbuyazi, vie to build up power bases to clarify who would eventually succeed Mpande as the King of the AmaZulu. Cetshwayo defeats and kills his brother at the Battle of Ndondakusuka
1856 – 1857
In the wake of the devastation of the Eighth War of Dispossession the AmaXhosa experience extreme hardship: the loss of their land and widespread political fragmentation as a result of the land loss. Their economic misery is exacerbated by the spread of lung disease amongst their remaining livestock. In their search to find meaning in their despair, the AmaXhosa accept the apparently prophetic message of a young woman, Nongqwase of the independent AmaSarhili. She promises them a reversal of their fortunes if they purge themselves of their cattle and crops and refrain from sowing. According to her vision this purge would resurrect fallen heroes and other dead, and the AmaXhosa would be assured of healthy cattle and crops. The white settlers would be swept away into the sea. The Paramount Chief Sarhili supports her in her prophecy. The prophecy causes bitter internal conflict. Sarhili orders the mass slaughter of cattle and the burning of crops. Famine follows. Fifteen months later when Sarhili rejects the prophecy, with civil war imminent the AmaXhosa are all but decimated. This act of desperation seals the fate of the AmaXhosa as defeated people, people already ravished by centuries of colonial wars of dispossession and their belief and philosophical systems undermined by missionary intervention
The First Free State – Basotho War breaks out as Free State commandos attack Moshoeshoe in a bid to seize more arable land. Moshoeshoe, who is able to retrieve some land in terms of the peace agreement known as the Treaty of Aliwal North, defeats the Free State commandos
Natal Act No.14 of the Colony of Natal is passed. It regulates the immigration of Indians as indentured labourers with the option of returning to India at the end of a five-year indenture. The Law also provides for labourers to re-indenture for a further five-year period, which would make them eligible to settle permanently in the Colony.
The indentured Indian labourers who arrive in the early period are also entitled to a gift of crown land and full citizenship rights. This provision is withdrawn after 1891 to discourage the settlement of Indians in Natal
The first keeper of the Colonial Archives of the Cape Colony is appointed
1880 – 1904
Fietas, Johannesburg: Pageview is still known as the ‘Malay Location’. The population is largely ‘coloured’, ‘cape coloured’ and Malay
April, Paul Kruger and Joubert travel to the Cape to campaign for support and to put pressure on Cape Afrikaner parliamentarians to reject the Cape draft act that envisions federation. The mission is a success and Kruger is confident that Gladstone will cancel the annexation. His refusal to even grant self-rule, leads to great dissapointment
December, The Volksraad is called to Paardekraal, south-west of Pretoria, on the advice of Paul Kruger. Here the government of the republic is placed, consisting of Kruger, P.J. Joubert and M.W. Pretorius. Kruger’s base is to be in Heidelberg and armed forces take up position on the Natal border, while others surround the British garrison in the Transvaal. Kruger realises that the British forces will be too powerful, thus decides to continue with negotiations
Paul Kruger writes a letter to request that a British royal commission be set up to make an honest investigation. He promises that fighting will stop if this happens. When the first South African War is successfully concluded, a triumph in Kruger’s career, the republic is reinstated
August, The Pretoria convention is signed and the Vierkleur is flown once again
For the first time in ten years, an election is held and Paul Kruger won
9 May, Paul Kruger is sworn in as president and he subsequently announces a policy that is based on Christian principles. Introduces concession policy as the country is in financial difficulty. He also introduces a new education policy that is more acceptable to the public. Kruger leaves for England again to persuade the British government to revise the Pretoria convention, as means of establishing a rail link with the east coast
Otto von Bismarck chairs the Berlin Conference to stem the scramble for Africa. Only Morocco, Ethiopia, and Liberia are recognized as independent entities. Partition of West Africa and East Africa
27 July, The old Pretoria convention is replaced with a new one, the London convention. Hollanders grant permission for the construction of the Delagoa Bay railway and the establishment of trade ties with European powers
October, Paul Kruger allows the proclamation of authority by the republic over an area that falls within Bechuanaland, a British protectorate at the time
Paul Kruger reaches a compromise with Sir Charles Warren to avoid a possible war over territory with the British
Proclamation of the first gold fields in the Witwatersrand. Soon there is an increase in the number of foreigners residing in the Transvaal, creating a political problem for Paul Kruger
Paul Kruger is re-elected as president, making it possible for him to extend his limitations on the political representation of the uitlanders (foreigners)
Paul Kruger persuades volksraad to pass a legislation to create a second volksraad with limited authority, where the uitlanders would have representation
Paul Kruger’s proposal for a second volksraad is put into effect – this ofcourse remained an uitlander grievance against the Kruger government
March, Paul Kruger is publicly insulted during a visit to Johannesburg. Subsequently, he guarantees Britain that he has no ambitions to the north, however he states his interest in Swaziland, to the east
First train steams into Johannesburg.
Paul Kruger wins the Presidential elections,
Fietas, Johannesburg: The first ‘locations’ are established under the Kruger government. Locations are ‘non-white’ areas. Three exists namely the ‘Coolie Location’, the ‘Kaffir Location’ and the ‘Malay Location’
May, Paul Kruger sworn in as president for the third time
October, First train reaches Pretoria from the east
Chamberlain invites Paul Kruger to London to discuss the safety of the Transvaal
Ethiopia, under Emperor Menelik II, defeats invading Italian army in the Battle of Adwa
Lumière brothers’ demonstration of projected moving photographic images in Alexandria
January, J.G. Kotze, the chief justice challenges the legality of the volksraad
February, Paul Kruger obtains special right to dismiss judges who claimed testing right. Kruger regarded chief justice Kotze’s stand as an infringement of the authority of the volksraad
After a lengthy correspondence, Paul Kruger dismisses chief justice Kotze
May, Paul Kruger is sworn in as president after a crushing victory in the election
September, The Orange Free State president, Dr Marthinus Theunis Steyn visits Pretoria, resulting in a treaty between the his province and the Transvaal
Lord Milner uses the uitlander movement as means of denouncing the Kruger administration
May, Lord Milner recommends British intervention to Chamberlain
May – June, Conference is held in Bloemfontein, both Paul Kruger and Lord Milner are invited by president Dr.W. Steyn to attend. Milner insists that immediate steps need to be taken to grant the uitlanders a vote on a basis of five-year residency. Kruger is not willing to fix the residential qualification to less than seven years. The conference doesn’t reach a conclusion
September , Paul Kruger decides, with support from Jan Smuts, that it would be better to take military action. This leads to the dispatch of an ultimatum to Britain on the 9th of September 1899