African History Since 1875

AFRICAN HISTORY TIMELINE: Europeans in 19th Century South Africa

Copyright 1998 by Jim Jones
All rights reserved

.......DATE............. ...............................EVENT............................. ..............
1652 The Dutch East India Comapny founded a base at Table Bay on the west coast of near the southern tip of Africa.
1795 The British captured Cape Town from the Dutch for the first time during the Napoleonic Wars.
1806 The British recaptured Cape Town and took over Cape Province.
1817-1828 The Zulu Mfecane spread from Natal throughout southern Africa.
1830s Andries Pretorius tried to unite Boers from Natal, Winburg and Transvval.
1835 The Europeans fought the sixth war with the Xhosa since the 1780s.
1838 A massive migration of Boer families began into the southern African interior, and resulted in the foundation of two Boer Republics, Transvaal ("across the Vaal River") and Orange Free State (after the Orange River).
1843 The British government annexed the coastal region of Natal.
1848 The British government annexed the Orange River Sovereignty.
1850s Boers attacked Moshoeshoe's Sotho kingdom (Basutoland).
1852-4 The British government recognized Boer independence in the Sand River and Blomfontein Conventions.
1858 Cape Colony Governor Sir George Grey articulated the need for a southern African federation because, as separate states, the European communities were too weak to stop African resistance. He advocated a uniform "native" policy to protect Europeans.
1860 Andries Pretorius' son Marthinus Pretorius tried to unite the Orange Free State and Transvaal by winning election as president of both states simultaneously. The attempt failed because they disagreed over relations with the British.
1867 Diamonds were discovered at Hope Creek (a tributary of the Orange River).
1868 Britain annexed Basutoland, ostensibly to protect it from Boer aggression.
1870 The town of Kimberley was incorporated in the western part of the Ornage Free State.
1871 Cape Province annexed West Griqualand, west of Kimberley, further angering the Boer governments.
1872 The British government yielded control over all Cape Colony internal affairs. This was a big step towards Cape autonomy and eventual independence.
1876 British Secretary of State for Colonies Lord Carnarvon (under Disraeli) invited the Boer governments to discuss confederation.
April 1877 Internal dissent over plans for a railway to Mozambique (bypassing British territory) led to the collapse of the Transvaal Boer government, and the Transvaal was annexed by Britain.
1877 The British government annexed Transvaal.
1878 Sir Bartle Frere replaced Lord Carnarvon as the Governor of Cape Colony.
1879 Sir Bartle Frere's attempt to win Boer favor by annexing Zulu territory led to a major Zulu victory over the British at the Battle of Insandlhwana.
1880 Paul Kruger became the new president of the Transvaal, signalling an era of increasing Boer militancy. He immediately demanded that the British grant Boer independence.
1880 Cecil Rhodes founded the De Beers Consolidated Mining Company which controlled diamond mining in the Orange Free State.
1881 Various Boer revolts against British authority were successful and the Boer governments obtained nominal independence with treaties in 1881 and 1884.
1881 Cecil Rhodes was elected to the Cape Colony parliament.
1885 The first railroad and telegraph line from Kimberley to Cape Town opened.
1886 Gold was discovered at the Witwatersrand Rand (white water ridge or reef) in the Boer Republic of Transvaal.
1889 Cecil Rhodes received a royal charter for his British South Africa Company.
1890 Cecil Rhodes became Prime Minister of Cape Colony.
1895 Cecil Rhodes personally financed an attempt to overthrow the Transvaal governemnt (Jameson's War). The new British Prime Minister, Joseph Chamberlain, was aware of the plan.
1897 Rhodes' replacement as Governor of Cape Colony (Sir Alfred Milner was unable to reason.
1898 Paul Kruger was reelected as president of the Transvaal.
November 14, 1899 A British ammunition train was ambushed on its way to Ladysmith. Among the captives was the Morning Post newspaper correspondent, Winston Churchill.
December 9-15, 1899 The British suffered three defeats in the same week at Magersfontein, Stormberg, and Colenso.
October 9, 1899 When the British ignored a Boer ultimatum against additional British troops in South Africa, the Anglo-Boer War began.
September 1, 1900 The British government annexed the Transvaal.
February 27, 1900 The siege of the British town of Ladysmith ended.
December 1900 The British opened the first concentration camps to "protect" non-combatants in Boer territory (mostly Boer families), but overcrowding turned them into death camps.
May 1900 The British government annexed the Orange Free State.
1901 The British commander Kitchener (of Fashoda and the Mahdi conquest) divided the country in sectors using blockhouses and long lines of barbed wire built to protect the railways. He then employed cavalry columns to sweep and destroy farms and crops.
March 23, 1902 Boer military leaders agreed to surrender even though their military forces were not defeated.
May 21, 1902 The treaty that ended the Anglo-Boer war brought Boer gold mines under British control.
1908 Following elections, three of the South African colonies had Boer self-government. Only Natal was British.
May 1910 The Union of South Africa received its constitution.