British Empire
Living in the British empire - Africa
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Extract from a newspaper report on events in South Africa in 1897
(Catalogue ref: DO 119/33)
  • This newspaper extract describes the discussions which took place in the Volksraad on the issue of migrating African peoples. The Volksraads were the Parliaments for the Boer areas of South Africa.
  • The issue being discussed is that the Bachatla people were saying that they needed more land. If they did not get it, they were threatening to migrate. The Bachatla were one of many peoples who had lost their original lands in the course of wars with the Boers and the British. At the time of this source Bachatla peoples were settled on lands that were crossed by the border between lands controlled by Britain and the Boers. This gives an idea of the ways in which European settlement disrupted lives.
  • Britain took control of the Cape Colony in South Africa in 1806. However, there were already European settlers there. They were descended from the original Dutch settlers, and were known as Afrikaaners or Boers.
  • During the 1800s the Boers moved inland into South Africa because they did not like British rule. They objected to British taxes. They also objected because under British rule native Africans were given basic civil rights.
  • As they moved inland the Boers clashed with the Zulus and other African nations. The British became involved in these wars. By the late 1800s the British controlled the provinces of Cape and Natal. Further north, the Boers controlled the Orange Free State and the Transvaal.
  • Africans were not treated especially well in the British controlled areas or the Boer controlled areas. However, the British generally treated them better. The Boers saw the Africans as only being fit to be slaves.
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