By John J. Stephens
For greater than a century following its discovery, South Africa held little curiosity for the imperial powers of Europe. while gold was once came upon there towards the top of the 19th century, the territory abruptly turned some of the most hotly contested items of actual property on this planet. Fuelling the Empire tells the tale of the South African gold rush, the mammoth political and fiscal forces it set in movement, and the devastating army clash to which it gave rise???the Boer struggle, the 1st large-scale human tragedy of the 20 th century.
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Extra info for Fuelling the Empire: South Africa's Gold and the Road to War
They were black people, as opposed to the San and Khoi peoples who also inhabited the area and who were hunter-gatherers, speaking an unrelated language and not practising metallurgy. Among the Bantu speakers living south of the Limpopo, four broadly defined groups are usually distinguished. They are the two large linguistic groups of the Tswana-Sotho and Nguni speakers, followed by the smaller Venda-Lemba and Tsonga groups. These distinctions are essentially linguistic ones. For the sake of clarity, the later geopolitical appellations of Transvaal, Free State, Natal and the Cape Colony will be used throughout.
The Portuguese happily traded slaves and other items with the east coast communities, as did other European nations ^ but nobody planted a colony. Exploration of the African coast in a southerly direction was merely undertaken to discover a sea route to the east, where true European trading interests lay. Africa was merely a continent lying in the way of a viable trade route to the east. The overland route was arduous, not under European control and thus always subject to interruption, high tariffs and arbitrary duties.
Later, the term Boere and Afrikaners, both epithets indicating self-perceived white people, became interchangeable. The interchangeability only developed late in the life of the Transvaal republic and gained growing acceptance after the South African War, when Boers wished to identify with the aspirations of the Afrikaners at the Cape. Before that cataclysmic event, they never thought of or referred to themselves as Afrikaners or to the language they spoke as anything but Dutch. Of course, the Boers of the later Republics and the Afrikaners at the Cape were related by blood and they thus easily identified with each other.