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A History of South Africa

A History of South Africa: Revised Edition

LEONARD THOMPSON
Copyright Date: 2000
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 352
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1nq8w9
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  • Book Info
    A History of South Africa
    Book Description:

    A leading scholar of South Africa provides a fresh and penetrating exploration of that country's history, from the earliest known human inhabitation of the region to the present. Focusing primarily on the experiences of its black inhabitants, this richly illustrated book is essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the historical patterns behind the conflicts that rage in this troubled land.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-12806-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. List of Maps
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION
    (pp. xv-xx)
  6. CHRONOLOGY
    (pp. xxi-xxxvi)
  7. CHAPTER 1 The Africans
    (pp. 1-30)

    Modern Western culture is inordinately present-minded. Politicians are ignorant of the past. School curricula foreshorten the historical record by focusing on recent events. People lack a sense of their location in time and fail to perceive that contemporary society is constrained by its cultural as well as its biological inheritance.

    Many historians of the white South African establishment start their history books with a brief reference to the voyage of Vascoda Gama round the Cape of Good Hope in 1497-98 and then rush on to the arrival of the first white settlers in 1652. Other historians are so committed to...

  8. CHAPTER 2 The White Invaders: The Cape Colony, 1652-1870
    (pp. 31-69)

    The hunting and herding peoples of Southern Africa remained isolated from the wider world until the end of the fifteenth century. Throughout that century, Portuguese mariners were probing further and further from Europe along the western coast of the African continent.¹ Eventually, in 1487, Bartholomeu Dias’s expedition of two fifty-ton caravels rounded the Cape peninsula in a storm, anchored in Mossel Bay 170 miles further east, arid sailed another 170 miles along the coast to Algoa Bay before returning to Lisbon. In 1497, five years after Christopher Columbus had crossed the Atlantic under Spanish patronage, Vasco da Gama led another...

  9. CHAPTER 3 African Wars and White Invaders: Southeast Africa, 1770-1870
    (pp. 70-109)

    White invaders and their diseases destroyed most of the hunting and herding societies in the western part of Southern Africa during the regime of the Dutch East India Company. They did so to such an extent that, with the exception of a few bands of hunters who still eke out an existence in arid, isolated terrain in Namibia and Botswana that Whites have not coveted, the only descendants of the aboriginal Khoisan are the so-called Cape Coloured People-an amalgam of people of diverse origins who possess few of the cultural traits of their precolonial ancestors.

    White people did not begin...

  10. CHAPTER 4 Diamonds, Gold, and British Imperialism, 1870-1910
    (pp. 110-153)

    After 1870, the rate of change in many parts of Southern Africa accelerated dramatically under the impact of both external and internal forces. The peak of British imperialism coincided with the identification and exploitation of prolific deposits of diamonds and gold in the Southern African interior.

    By the end of the century, Southern Africa had become, for the first time, a significant contributor to the world economy. Most of the capital invested in the mining industries came from overseas, and a high proportion of the profits were absorbed in Britain, continental Europe, and North America. Nevertheless, the mineral discoveries stimulated...

  11. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  12. CHAPTER 5 The Segregation Era, 1910-1948
    (pp. 154-186)

    The material expectations of the founders of the Union of South Africa were fulfilled. Between 1910 and 1948, the economy weathered the Great Depression, and the national income of the country increased more than three times in real terms.¹ The gold-mining industry made a major contribution to the national budget and provided enough foreign exchange for essential imports, especially heavy machinery and fuel oil. White farmers precariously held their own with massive state support, and manufacturing expanded prodigiously after 1933.² The country produced plenty of coal but no oil, and to sustain its economic growth, it needed large inputs of...

  13. CHAPTER 6 The Apartheid Era 1948-1978
    (pp. 187-220)

    After its initial victory in 1948, the National party consolidated its power. In that year it created new parliamentary seats for representatives of white voters in South West Africa (six in the House of Assembly and four in the Senate) who were elected to support the government. Then, step by step, it eliminated every vestige of black participation in the central political system. In 1956, after a long political and legal struggle, it dealt the Coloured votes in the Cape Province, most of whom had supported the United party, the same blow as the Hertzog government had dealt the African...

  14. CHAPTER 7 Apartheid in Crisis‚ 1978–1989
    (pp. 221-240)

    By 1978, the apartheid state was in trouble. South Africa’s economic boom of the 1960s and early 1970s had been followed by a sharp recession. The administration of the complex network of apartheid laws was proving to be extremely costly. Inflation was running at over 10 percent. The increase in the gross domestic product was scarcely keeping up with the increase in the population, and many white people were becoming poorer. There was also a shortage of the skilled labor needed to run private industry and the bureaucracy. That shortage was accentuated by the fact that in 1977, for the...

  15. CHAPTER 8 The Political Transition, 1989-1994
    (pp. 241-264)

    Between 1989 and 1994, South Africans surprised the world. Although the country was wracked by unprecedented violence and teetered on the brink of civil war, black and white politicians put an end to more than three hundred years of white domination and fashioned a nonracial constitution, which effectively transferred political power from the white minority to the black majority. May 10, 1994, the day the presidency of South Africa passed from an Afrikaner who led the party of white supremacy to the leader of an African nationalist movement, was the culmination of one of the finest achievements of the twentieth...

  16. CHAPTER 9 The New South Africa, 1994-2000
    (pp. 265-296)

    As the euphoria that marked the election and the inauguration died down, it became apparent that in South Africa, as in many other countries, although the creation of a democratic constitution was a vital step forward, it was merely a skeleton that might or might not lead to the growth of a democratic society. The tasks that confronted the new government were awesome. The country was racked by the cumulative effects of colonialism, apartheid, and urbanization. According to the United Nations Human Development Program, in 1994 the level of human development in South Africa ranked ninetieth out of 175 countries,...

  17. APPENDIX: STATISTICS
    (pp. 297-304)
  18. NOTES
    (pp. 305-344)
  19. INDEX
    (pp. 345-358)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 359-359)