The British Empire in Africa: the annexation of Cape Colony –

The arrival of the British empire at the Cape changed the lives of the people who already lived there. Initially British control was aimed at protecting the trade route to the East, however the British soon realized the potential to develop the Cape for their own needs and thus began an annexation that became historic as it became part of the Cape. colonial partition of Africa. We are now talking about the development of the British Empire in Africa: the annexation of the Cape Colony.

The British Empire in Africa: the annexation of the Cape Colony

At the beginning of XIX centuryEuropean knowledge of Africa was reduced to the North. In the rest of the African continent there were small possessions on the coasts. Were commercial factories linked to trade of slavescontrolled by England, France, Spain Y Portugal. Yoengland aimed to consolidate empireY Cape Colony –in territories of present-day South Africa – would have to be one of his many acquisitions colonial.

The populations of african natives of the region were agricultural or pastoral, with no written language or lasting political states. Missionaries, individual adventurers, and explorers were the first to open this world to Europeamong them the most famous were Stanley Y Livingstone.

The annexation of the lands south african to the vast British Empire It was produced in 1815when England bought the Cape Colony a Holland. A significant amount of British They came to this region to settle permanently. But these lands were already occupied by ancient colonists originally Dutchcalled Boers with whom they would eventually come into conflict.

The arrival of settlers in the Cape Colony

After the Napoleonic wars, Great Britain experienced a serious unemployment problem. Therefore, encouraged by the British government to emigrate to the Cape Colony, the first settlers arrived in Table Bay aboard the Nautilus and the Chapman on March 17, 1820. From the Cape Colony, settlers were sent to Algoa Bay, known today as Port Elizabeth.

Lord Somerset, the British Governor in South Africa, encouraged immigrants to settle in the border area of ​​what is now the Eastern Cape. This was to consolidate and defend the eastern frontier against the neighboring Xhosa people, and to give the English-speaking population a boost.

This period saw one of the largest stages of British settlement in Africa, and approximately 4,000 settlers came to the Cape, between April and June 1820. The colonists were granted farms near the village of Bathurst, and supplied equipment and food against their deposits. A combination of factors caused many of the settlers to leave these farms for neighboring cities.

First, many of the settlers were artisans no interest in rural life and no agricultural experience. In addition, life on the frontier was harsh and they suffered from problems such as drought, rust conditions that affected crops, and lack of transportation. Therefore, many settlers left the eastern frontier in search of a better life in cities like Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown and East London. Thus the eastern border never became as densely populated as Somerset had hoped.

The settlers who remained as farmers they made a significant contribution to agriculture, planting corn, rye, and barley. They also began to grow wool, which later became a very lucrative trade. Some of the settlers, who were merchants by profession, also made a significant contribution to business and the economy. New towns like Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth therefore grew rapidly.

The dispute with the Boers for control of Africa

But the conflict with the Boers, who were also farmers, was always latent, so they faced the english settlers for possession of the land. The arrival of the British It had also involved drastic changes. was abolished slaverywhich was usually used by boers to get workforce. As in the rest of the British Empiresought to “protect” the native settlers exploited by the dutch settlers.

The changes went beyond the economic, affecting the lifestyle of the boer settlers. English was adopted as the sole official language. It was established Anglicanism above tradition christian fundamentalist of the boers.

As a consequence of these English measures, between 1835 and 1837, there was a massive emigration. about ten thousand boers They moved towards sparsely populated lands in the north, disputing their territory with the native group of the Bantu.

On the other hand, the first decades of the century had seen another event of great importance: the rise to power of the great Zulu king, Shaka. His wars of conquest and those of Mzilikazi, a general who parted ways with Shaka on a path of conquest to the north, caused a calamitous disruption of the interior known to Sotho speakers as difaqane (forced migration); while Zulu speakers call it mfecane (crushing).

Shaka embarked on a massive expansion program, killing or enslaving those who resisted in the territories he conquered. The towns in the path of Shaka’s armies turned from his path and became aggressors against their neighbors. This wave of displacement spread throughout southern Africa and beyond. It also accelerated the formation of various states, notably Sotho (now Lesotho) and Swazi (now Swaziland).

This laid bare much of the area into which the Boers now moved, allowing them to settle there in the belief that they were occupying vacant territory. Of these, some five thousand settled in the area that would later become known as the Orange Free State (present-day Free State). The rest headed for Natal (present-day KwaZulu-Natal) where they appointed a delegation, under the leadership of Piet Retief, to negotiate with the Zulu King, Dingaan (Shaka’s successor), overland. Initially, the Dingaan granted them a large area of ​​land in the central and southern part of their territory, but Retief and his party were later killed in the Dingane kraal.

Newly elected Voortrekker leader Andries Pretorius prepared the group for a retaliatory attack and the Zulu were subsequently defeated at the famous Battle of Blood River on December 16, 1838, leading to the founding of the first Boer Republic in Natal.

Xhosa response

Europeans who came to stay in South Africa first settled in and around Cape Town. As the years passed, they sought to expand their territory. This expansion was first at the expense of the Khoikhoi and San, but later Xhosa land was also occupied. During the second half of the 16th century, the Xhosa encountered white pioneers moving east or Trek Boers in the Fish River region. The resulting struggle was not so much a contest between black and white races as a struggle for water, grazing and living space between two groups of farmers.

The first border war broke out in 1780 and marked the beginning of the Xhosa’s struggle to preserve their land, customs and way of life. It was a fight that was to increase in intensity when the British colonists of 1820 arrived on the scene.

This bitter struggle involved some of the greatest war veterans in South African history, for example the famous Maqoma warrior (the father of Guerilla Warfare), Sir Harry Smith (military legend and England’s favorite general), Chief Hintsa (martyr) and Adriaan van Jaarsveld (known as the ruthless ‘red captain’ among the Xhosa). It was also during these wars that the Trek-Boers developed the Laager technique as a way of defending themselves against a large enemy force.

The formation of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State

After fights between the boersthe english and the zulusthe boers established two state virtually independent, Transvaal and the Orange Free State. The British Empire at the southern tip of African continent grew slowly. Caught between the opposing policies of the coloniststhe rulers imperialists and the leaders natives.

In 1852, the English recognized the independence of boer state of Transvaaland later they did it with the Orange Free State. An agreement was thus achieved that gave a certain balance to the region. But that balance was to last only 25 years. Later England would develop a policy expansion more ambitious than would be the germ of future warscharacteristic of the imperialist race for him partition of africa.

In fact, the two new republics lived peacefully with their British neighbors until 1867, when the discovery of diamonds and gold in the region made conflict between the Boer states and Great Britain inevitable.

Minor fighting with Britain began in the 1890s, and a full-scale war broke out in October 1899. By mid-June 1900, British forces had captured most of the major Boer towns and they formally annexed their territories, but the Boers launched a guerrilla war that frustrated the occupying British. Beginning in 1901, the British began a strategy of systematically searching for and destroying these guerrilla units, while herding the families of Boer soldiers into concentration camps. By 1902, the British had crushed Boer resistance, and on May 31 of that year the Peace of Vereeniging was signed, ending hostilities.

The treaty recognized British military administration over the Transvaal and the Orange Free State and authorized a blanket amnesty for Boer forces. In 1910, the Autonomous Union of South Africa was established by the British, including Transvaal, Orange Free State, Cape of Good Hope and Natal as provinces.