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Southern African Timeline

Millennia BC - Hunter-gatherers, ancestors of the Khoisan, live in Southern Africa.
By AD 300 - Ancestors of the Bantu-speaking majority of the population settle south of the Limpopo River, joining Khoikhoi and San who have lived there for thousands of years.
1487 - Portuguese explorer Bartholomeu Dias reaches Cape of Good Hope. The Dutch East India Company was founded at Cape of Good Hope
1803 - Dutch (Batavian Republic) regain the Cape Colony by treaty.
1806 - Britain reconquers the Cape Colony.
1815 - Rising of frontier Boers (later known as the Slagtersnek rebellion).
1816-28 - Shaka creates the Zulu Kingdom; Africans battle throughout much of Southeastern Africa (the Mfecane).
British settlers land in the Cape Colony.
1828 - The Cape colonial government repeals the pass laws.
1834-38 - Cape colonial slaves emancipated.
1834-35 - Xhosa defeated by British and colonial forces.
1835-40 - Five thousand Afrikaners, known as voortrekkers, abandon the Cape Colony with their 'Coloured' clients. The journey is later referred to as the Great Trek.
1838 - An Afrikaner commando defeats the Zulu army at the battle of Blood River.
1843 - Britain annexes Natal.
1846-47 - British and colonial forces defeat Xhosa.
1852, 1854 - Britain recognises the Transvaal and Orange Free State as independent Afrikaner republics.
1856-57 - The Xhosa cattle-killing.
1867 - Diamond mining begins in Griqualand West.
1868 - Britain annexes Lesotho ('Basutoland').
1877 - Britain annexes the Transvaal.
1886 - Gold mining in the Witwatersrand.
1899-1902 - War: Britain conquers the Afrikaner republics.
1910 - The Cape Colony, Natal, the Transvaal, and the Orange Free State unite. Create the Union of South Africa.
1912 - South African Native National Congress (NNC) founded; eventually becomes the African National Congress (ANC).
1913 - Natives Land Act limits African land ownership to the reserves - segregation laws passed.
1914-19 - South Africa participates in World War I, as member of the British Empire.
1917 - Anglo American Corporation of South Africa founded.
1921 - Creation of Communist party.
1939-45 - South Africa fights with the Allies in World War II.
1946 - Over 70,000 African gold-mine workers strike for higher wages; troops control them.
1948 - The Afrikaner National party wins a general election. Initiates apartheid policies.
1950 - Legislation grants government with vast powers over people and organizations.
1952 - ANC and its allies initiate a passive resistance campaign.
1953 - Government in full command of African education.
1958-66 - Verwoerd elected prime minister.
1959 - Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) founded.
1960 - African and Coloured representation in Parliament (by Whites) ends.
1961 - South Africa becomes a Republic.
1964 - Nelson Mandela and other ANC and PAC leaders sentenced to life imprisonment.
1966-68 - Lesotho, Botswana, and Swaziland become independent states.
1975-76 - Mozambique and Angola become independent states.
1976-77 - Over 575 people die in confrontations between Africans and police in Soweto and other African townships.
1978-84 - Botha elected prime minister.
1980 - Zimbabwe (previously Rhodesia) becomes independent.

South African forces invade Angola and launch attacks on Lesotho, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.
ANC guerrillas sabotage South African cities.
1983 - United Democratic Front (UDF) formed.
1984 - Africans limited participation in the central government. Botha becomes state president.
1986 - Pass laws repealed.
The government prohibits the press, radio, and television from reporting unrest.
1986-95 - Violent conflict between Zulu supporters of Inkatha and the ANC in Kwa Zulu and on the Witwatersrand.
1987 - 250,000 African mineworkers strike.
1989 - De Klerk elected first leader of the National Party, then president.
1990 - De Klerk unbans the ANC, PAC, and SACP.
Releases Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners.

1913 and 1936 Land Acts, Group Areas Act, Population Registration Act, and Separate Amenities Act repealed.
Political organisations unbanned.
State of emergency revoked.
1994 - ANC wins first nonracial election (April 27-30).
Mandela is sworn in as president (May 10). Forms Government of National Unity.