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The area now known as South Africa, previously known as the ‘Transvaal’ (meaning ‘beyond the Vaal River’) had been inhabited by the Khoisan people for thousands of years. By the Iron Age, it was occupied by Bantu speaking tribes such as the Sotho, Tswana and Ndebele. In 1602, the Dutch set up a trading post on the Cape of Good Hope and traded there through their Dutch East India Company until it went bankrupt in 1795 after which Britain seized this area.

 In 1806 Britain, seized Cape Town from the Dutch and by 1820 British settlers began to arrive and establish themselves in what had then developed into the Cape Colony near Table Bay. This happened much to the dismay of the descendants of the Dutch (known as Boers meaning ‘farmers’) who decided to leave the Cape Colony. They made what is now known as the ‘Great Trek’ away from the coast and began to settle inland beyond British control. However, the tug of war between the English and the Dutch for the right to claim territory on African land had only just begun…

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