Chronography of South Africa
Page last modified 29/8/2022
events in the rest of Africa see Africa
Cape Town, aerial view 1948, 1996.
6.0, Nelson Mandela as President, 1993-99
5.5, South Africa rejoins the international
5.0, Dismantling of Apartheid, 1984-91
4.0, Nelson Mandela; freed from prison,
3.7, International disinvestment in
South Africa 1986
3.3, Civil unrest in South Africa 1984-86
3.0, �Death of Steven
2.0, Nelson Mandela; arrest and prison, 1962-64
1.0, South African Republic, 1960-61
0.0, Inception of Apartheid; promoted by
Malan, Nationalist Party, 1925-59
26/12/2021. Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
campaigner against Apartheid, died aged 90.
18/12/2017, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa defeated Ms Dlamini-Zuma
in elections for the Presidency of the ANC, South Africa.
5/12/2013, Nelson Mandela died, aged 95.
13/7/2013, Nadine Gordimer, South African
14/2/2013, South African Paralympic
Pistorius was arrested after the shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
16/8/2012, Striking mineworkers were
fired upon by police at Marikana, South Africa. 34 miners were killed.
31/10/2006, PW Botha, former President of
South Africa, died aged 90.
2004, The Africa National Congress won over two
thirds of the vote; Thabo Mbeki was re-elected President.
1/6/2004, Nelson Mandela announced his
retirement from public life.
2/6/1999, Thabo Mbeki (Afirca National
Congress) became President of South Africa.
Mandela as President, 1993-99
27/5/1999, Nelson Mandela retired as President of South
Africa. He was replaced by Thabo Mbeki.
1998, The Truth and
Reconciliation Report condemned both apartheid crimes and ANC excesses.
21/8/1998, In South Africa, former President PW Botha
was fined and given a suspended prison sentence for contempt of court. He had
refused to testify before the Government�s truth and Reconciliation Commission,
which was examining misdeeds committed during the Apartheid era.
23/5/1998, Andreas Liebenberg, South African military
commander, died aged 60.
17/12/1997, In South Africa, Thabo Mbeki became President of
the Africa National Congress (ANC), However Nelson Mandela remained as the
10/12/1996, South Africa�s new democratic and
non-racial Constitution was signed into law by President Mandela.
8/5/1996, South Africa approved a new Constitution
guaranteeing equal rights foir all races.
6/1/1995, South African Communist leader Joe Slovo
25/5/1994, The UN Security Council lifted a ban on
weapons exports from South Africa, ending the last of its Apartheid-era sanctions.
20/7/1994, South Africa was readmitted to the
Commonwealth, after 33 years of exclusion.
10/5/1994. Nelson Mandela was sworn in as
the first Black president of South Africa (see 2/5/1994). Nelson Mandela voted for the first time in his
life on elections held between 26 and 29 April and his Africa National Congress Party won an overwhelming 62.6% of the
vote. The National Party won 20.4%.
African President F W de Klerk conceded defeat to Nelson Mandela
in the country�s first truly democratic elections, see 10/5/1994.
26/4/1994. First multiracial elections in South Africa.
11/3/1994. Riots in South African Black Homeland of Bophutatswana.
1/3/1994, South Africa ceded Walvis Bay to Namibia.
15/10/1993. Nelson Mandela and President F W De Klerk shared the Nobel Peace Prize.
5.5 South Africa rejoins the international community 1991-93
24/9/1993. The USA and Commonwealth lifted trade sanctions against
16/8/1993. South Africa agreed to return Walvis Bay, its last colonial
possession, to Namibia.
Africa officially abandoned its nuclear weapons programme. President de
Klerk announced that the country's 6 warheads had already been
dismantled in 1990.
17/3/1992. South African Whites voted for
26/1/1992, The EU lifted sanctions against South
24/1/1992, South African President FW de Klerk
announced plans for power-sharing with the Afirca National Congress (ANC).
13/12/1991, The UN ended a ban on sporting, scientific
and academic links with South Africa.
10/11/1991, The South African cricket team played its
first international match in 21 years, after the International Cricket Council
lifted a ban imposed due to apartheid.
23/6/1992, In South
Africa the ANC withdrew from constitutional talks in protest at the Boipatong
fired on Black residents in Boipatong.
18/6/1992, 39 people
were killed in South Africa in the Boipatong
Massacre, which was allegedly by Inkatha supporters.
15/12/1991. F W de Klerk was under pressure at it emerged
that the South African Government had given money and other assistance to the Zulu Inkatha organisation, an
arch-enemy of the ANC, and had
organised for Inkatha members to travel to Israel for military training.
of Apartheid, 1984-91
17/6/1991. In South Africa, the repeal of the
Population Registration Act of 1950 officially ended apartheid.
5/6/1991, In South Africa, the �Pillars of
Apartheid�, the Land Acts of 1913 and 1936, and the Areas Act of 1950, were
15/4/1991, The EC
lifted sanctions in South Africa, imposed because of Apartheid.
International Olympics Committee readmitted South Africa, after 30 years
1/2/1991. De Klerk of
South Africa promised an end to all apartheid legislation.
South Africa, the ruling South African National Party formally opened its
membership to people of all races.
pillar of apartheid was removed when the South African President, F W de Klerk
removed beach access restrictions which separated racial access. The Separate
Amenities Act, permitting Whites to monopolise public space, was also to be
13/9/1989. 20,000 demonstrated against Apartheid in South Africa, and the killing
of 23 protestors during the Whites-only elections the previous week. Protestors
were from all races.
23/4/1986. President P W Botha of South Africa announced there would be no more arrests under the
hated �pass laws� whereby Black people had to carry their passes at all times.
15/4/1985. South Africa abolished racial sex laws. Interracial marriages
were now legal.
10/12/1984, Bishop Desmond Tutu was awarded
the Nobel Peace Prize for his campaign against Apartheid.
22/8/1984. �Coloureds� were allowed to vote in South African elections.
20/9/1991, Clashes in South Africa between Blacks and
14/5/1991, In South Africa, Winnie Mandela, wife of ANC leader Nelson Mandela, was sentenced to 6 years for
kidnap and accessory to assault.
13/5/1991, In South Africa, Winnie Mandela was convicted of kidnapping 4
14/12/1990. Oliver Tambo, ANC President, returned to South
Africa after 30 years exile.
18/9/1990, In South Africa, Winnie Mandela
was charged with kidnapping and assault.
21/8/1990, 400 killed in clashes between the ANC and the
Inkatha Zulu in the Transvaal townships, South Africa.
15/8/1990, 150 were killed in violent clashes in townships
outside Johannesburg, South Africa.
2/7/1990. ANC called a national strike in South Africa.
6/5/1990, P W Botha resigned from South Africa�s ruling
Nationalist party in protest at talks with the Africa National Congress.
Mandela; freed from prison, 1988-90
16/4/1990, A charity
concert was held at Wembley in honour of recently-freed Nelson Mandela.
gained independence, after 75 years of South African rule.
2/3/1990, Nelson Mandela was elected Chairman of the Africa National
11/2/1990. Nelson Mandela, the
71-year-old Black Nationalist leader of South Africa, was freed from prison after 27 years, given a life sentence for
treason He walked free from Victor Verster prison in the
Cape Province, met by a crowd of 2,000, the maximum number allowed by the
authorities. On 2/3/1990� Mandela
was elected chairman of the ANC (Africa
National Congress) which began serious negotiations with President F W
De Klerk, but the peaceful transition to a multiracial society was
threatened by escalating violence between the ANC and the rival Zulu-based
Inkatha movement. Mandela,
a lawyer, joined the ANC in 1949; the ANC had been founded in 1912; it was
committed to peaceful resistance to White rule for its first 48 years, but
began a campaign of civil disobedience after White police fired on Black
protestors at the Sharpeville Massacre
3/2/1990, South African President
de Klerk lifted the 30-year old ban on the African National Congress and
announced the imminent release of Nelson Mandela, prisoner for 27 years. 30
other political parties, including the Communist Party, also saw lifting of
restrictions, political prisoners were to be freed, the death sentence was
suspended, and emergency restrictions on the media lifted. The ANC was to be
invited to share power.
13/12/1989 �In South
Africa, President F W de Klerk met
with ANC leader Nelson Mandela for
the first time.
7/12/1988. Nelson Mandela was moved to a luxury house
within the grounds of Pollsmoor Prison.
On Nelson Mandela�s 70th birthday,
there was a worldwide call for him to be released from prison. He had been held
29/10/1989. 60,000 took part in an ANC (Africa National� Congress) rally in South Africa.
21/2/1989. Two members of Winnie Mandela�s bodyguard were charged with
the murder of 14-year-old Stompie Mocketsi.
29/2/1988. In South Africa, Archbishop Desmond \Tutu was
arrested for illegally demonstrating outside the Parliamentary building in Cape
Town. He was protesting against the death sentence imposed on the Sharpeville Six
for killing a Black Councillor.
5/11/1987, Govan Mbeki was released from prison in South
Africa after being held for 24 years on Robben island. He hasd been senteneced
to life in 1964 for treason against the South African Government, He went on to
serve in the post-Apartheid Government.
7/9/1986. Bishop Desmond Tutu was
appointed Archbishop of Cape Town, the
first Black head of the South African Anglicans.
disinvestment in South Africa 1986
announced that it was disinvesting in South Africa.
3/10/1986, US President Reagan attempted to veto economic
sanctions on South Africa but this was prevented by the US Senate.
2/10/1986, The US
imposed sanctions on South Africa.
unrest in South Africa 1984-86
23/8/1986. Riots continued in Soweto, South Africa, with 13 dead and over 70 injured.
12/6/1986, South Africa declared a State of Emergency
and restricted press reporting.
1/5/1986. 1.5 million Black workers went on strike in
African Prime Minister PW Botha repealed the Pass Laws, which had
restricted the movement of non-Whites in South Africa since 1948.
Africa lifted the State of Emergency imposed in July 1985.
2/11/1985, The South African Government imposed
emergency restrictions on the reporting of unrest.
15/8/1985, South African President Botha reiterated his
commitment to Apartheid.
20/7/1985. State of Emergency imposed
in 36 areas of South Africa. Suspects could now be arrested withoiut a warrant
and held indefinitely without trial.
21/3/1985. In South Africa, 19 died when police opened
fire on a crowd of Black people on the 25th anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre.
3/9/1984, 14 died in rioting in Sharpeville and other
Black townships around Johannesburg.
20/5/1983, ANC car bomb outside the South African Air
Force HQ killed 17.
4/12/1981, South Africa created the �independent� Republic of
Ciskei as a �homeland� for Black people; this was not recognised outside South
28/8/1981, South African troops invaded Angola.
10/6/1980, The African National Congress published Nelson
Mandela�s call to fight, smuggled out of his cell at Robben Island.
23/9/1979, A US satellite recorded a brilliant double flash
over the ocean between South Africa and Antarctica. A South African Navy ship
was in the area, but South Africa denied it had tested a nuclear weapon. Since the 1960s,
South Africa had invested in nuclear power technology, despite having abundant
29/9/1978, Johannes Vorster became President of South
28/9/1978. Peter Botha became Prime Minister of South
20/9/1978, B J Vorster resigned as Prime Minister of
South Africa due to ill-health.
1977, The Gleneagles Agreement was signed, by
Commonwealth leaders, in Scotland. It aimed to discourage sporting
links with South Africa in protest at the Apartheid policy.
4/11/1977. The UN banned arms sales to South Africa.
3.0 Death of Steven
2/12/1977, The South
African judicial system decided that the security forces were not responsible
for the death of Steve Biko, despite
evidence that he had been badly beaten.
12/9/1977. Moderate South African black activist Steven Biko, 30, died after 3 weeks in days in
police detention in Port Elizabeth.� He received a head
injury during police interrogation and became unconscious; a police doctor
recommended hospitalisation. Instead, on 11/9/1977 Biko was taken on� a 1,200 mile journey to Pretoria Central
prison, naked in the back of a Land Rover, where he died on the 12th.
This event proved a focal point in
internal and international opposition to the South African regime. Steve
Biko�s funeral was held on 25/9/1977. Steve Biko�s funeral was held on 25/9/1977. Heavy tactics
were used to prevent Black mourners from attending, bus travel permits were
denied, roadblocks employed, and Black mourners taken off buses and beaten with
21/8/1977, South African Black civil rights activist Steve Biko
was arrested on suspicion of promoting unrest in Port Elizabeth and of
distributing leaflets calling for �violence and arson�.
26/10/1976. Transkei became the first South African Black homeland to gain �independence�. The UN called
the exercise a sham; South Africa had effectively deprived the 1.3 million
Xhosa in Transkei of South African citizenship.
6/7/1976, After the Soweto
riots of 16/6/1976, the South Africa Minister for Education announced that
plans for compulsory teaching in Afrikaans
were to be dropped.
in the black township of Soweto, South Africa, began protesting against
having to learn Afrikaans, the language of the then ruling white minority.
Police open fire and killed a 13 year old, Hector Peterson. Nationwide demonstrations
began, met by more police brutality. By February 1977 over 570 people, mostly
black schoolchildren, had been killed. Resistance against apartheid hardened.
Apartheid had developed in the 1930s by the Afrikaans rulers as a way of
segregating blacks and whites. When the Afrikaaners gained power in 1948 they made apartheid
part of the South African legal system.
31/10/1974, Britain, France and the USA vetoed a motion to expel South
Africa from the UN.
1972, The AWB (Afrikaanse
Weestand Beweging), or Afrikaner Resistance Movement, was formed, led by Eugene
Terre�Blanche. Its aim was to preserve White control of South Africa
by force if necessary.
5/2/1973, 20,000 Black workers went on strike in South Africa.
3/3/1971, In Johannesburg, South Africa, Winnie Mandela was sentenced to 12 months prison
for receiving guests at home, contrary to to Government order.
21/6/1971, The International Court of Justice in The Hague
ruled, by 13 votes to 2, that South Africa�s continued presence in Namibia was illegal.
22/7/1970, Tanzania, Uganda and
Zambia threatened to leave the Commonwealth if Britain sold arms to South
Africa. On 20/7/1970 Britain had said it was willing to sell arms to South
Africa for coastal defence.
22/5/1970, The Middlesex
Cricket Club, under UK Government pressure, cancelled a South African
tour of England.
15/5/1970, The International
Olympics Committee expelled South
5/11/1969, Anti-Apartheid demonstrators invaded the pitch at Twickenham, during a game by
the touring South African Springboks.
13/9/1966, Johannes Vorster was sworn in as President of
6/9/1966, South African Prime Minister Dr Hendrik Voerwoerd, aged 65,
was assassinated, stabbed four times in the chest by a White Parliamentary
messenger, with a stiletto, because �his Government didn�t do enough for
had, since 1950, created
semi-independent and poverty stricken �homelands� for South Africa�s 73% Black
majority, covering just 13% of South African territory; effectively creating a White majority in the remainder of the country.
30/3/1966, In South Africa, the National Party won a large
majority in elections.
17/11/1964, The UK imposed an arms embargo on South Africa because of its
9/10/1964. A planned tour by
the Rolling Stones to South Africa was cancelled due to the British Musician�s
Union�s anti-apartheid embargo.
20/8/1964. South Africa was
banned from the Olympics because of its apartheid
2.0, Nelson Mandela; arrest and prison, 1962-64
14/6/1964. Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment and sent to Robben Island,
seven miles off Cape Town.
There were international protests. See 27/1/1963.
6/5/1964, In South Africa the Bantu Laws Amendment Act was passed. This
attempted to control the informal settlement of Black Africans on the periphery
of urban areas.
Africa left the International Labour Organisation.
18/9/1963, The UN Special Committee on Apartheid in South Africa called
for prohibition of arms and petroleum traffic with South Africa.
27/1/1963. Mrs Winnie Mandela was served with an injunction preventing her seeing
her imprisoned husband Nelson Mandela. See 14/6/1964.
7/11/1962. In South Africa, Nelson Mandela
was jailed for seven years.
22/10/1962 Nelson Mandela, leader of the African National Congress,
went on trial charged with treason; he pleaded not guilty.
26/9/1936, Winnie Mandela, South African politician, was
18/7/1918. Nelson Mandela, South African Black Rights
campaigner and leader, was born (died 2013).
12/5/1962, The South African General Law Amendment Bill
imposed the death
penalty for sabotage. A few months later it was made a criminal offence
to publish anything said by a Black or White journalist whose works had been
banned. In October 1962 those banned from speaking or writing publically could
be put under house arrest for 5 years; they could not receive visitors or use
the telephone, or communicate with any other banned person. By the end of 1962
18 such orders had been issued.
African Republic, 1960-61
1961, South Africa replaced the
Pound with the Rand, a move planned from 1958.
31/5/1961. The Republic of South Africa
was formed, and it left
13/4/1961, The UN General Assembly
condemned apartheid in South Africa.
15/3/1961, South Africa stated it would leave the
6/1/1961, Dag Hammarskjold, UN
Secretary General, visited South Africa to discuss apartheid.
6/10/1960, South Africa held a referendum on whether
to declare itself a Republic, further cutting ties with Britain. Only Whites were allowed
to vote. The result was 52.14% in favour of a Republic
and 47.42% against.
9/4/1960, David Pratt, a 52-year-old White man, fired
two shots at South African President Dr Hendrik Verwoerd, wounding him.
5/4/1960, Rioting and protests continued in South Africa.
30/3/1960, State of Emergency
in South Africa after the Sharpeville
27/3/1960, In South Africa, Chief Luthuli started a
25/3/1960, Following Sharpeville,
all non-White political organisations, including the ANC, were banned in South
21/3/1960. South African police killed
67 Black Africans at Sharpeville,
and wounded 186.
The demonstrations were against the hated 'Pass
Laws'. All over South Africa, Black people deliberately left their passes
at home and awaited arrest. Versions of what provoked the shooting at Sharpeville, a township 5 miles north
of Vereeniging, varied. According to police, a crowd of 20,000 Black people
were about to storm the police station. Black witnesses said only 5,000 Blacks
were present and had gone peacefully to the police station to discuss the Pass
Laws. A medical expert testified that 70% of the victims were shot from behind.
On 30/3/1960 South Africa declared a
State of Emergency following the Sharpeville riots.
3/2/1960, UK Prime Minister Harold Macmillan upset his hosts
in South Africa when he called for racial equality; Macmillan was concerned
that the newly independent ec-colonies of Africa and Asia would align
themselves with the USSR, not the former European colonisers.
29/1/1960. Race riots in Johannesburg.
5/7/1959. Ghana began a boycott of all South African
18/6/1959. There was
serious rioting in Durban when police moved in on Black settlements. The
police were destroying illicit stills discovered during an operation to
resettle some 100,000 Black people. Rioting continued throughout June, and 4
Black people died. Property damage was estimated at �250,000. More deaths
occurred in September 1959 when police opened fire on rioters.
3/9/1958, Hendrik Verwoerd became Prime Minister of
24/8/1958, J G Strijdom, Prime Minister of South
Africa, died 65. He was succeeded by Hendrik Verwoerd on 3/9/1958.
3/5/1957. South Africa dropped �God Save the Queen� as
its national anthem.
5/3/1957, The Union Jack ceased to be one of the official
flags of South Africa.
4/7/1955. Britain said it would return the Simonstown military base to South Africa
by 31/3/1957, whilst retaining the rights to use the base.
of Apartheid; promoted by Malan, Nationalist Party, 1925-59
13/11/1959, In South Africa, the ant-Apartheid South
African Progressive party was founded at a conference in Johannesburg.
7/2/1959. Daniel Francois Malan, Prime Minister of South
Africa 1948-54 and creator of apartheid,
died at Stellenbosch, Cape Province, South Africa, aged 84.
African President Hendrik Voerwoerd promised to
Church and the universities in South Africa continued to defy government
rulings on enforcing racial segregation, or apartheid.
final expulsion of Black Africans from Johannesburg began. 60,000 Black South Africans
were moved to the Meadowlands development, 13 miles out from the city where
they had lived and worked for generations.
1954, Dr Voerword, who in 1950 had become Minister of Native
Affairs, began introducing further discriminatory apartheid legislation. He
enacted the Native Resettlement Act, empowering the White government to remove
Black settlements that were deemend to be too close to White areas. It was
bulldozed and the area redeveloped as a White district. The first Black
settlement moved under this legislation was Sophiatown, in the centre of
Johannesburg. Trades Unions in South Africa were ordered to segregate into
Black and White sections, to end joint bargaining by workers of different
races. He also introduced the Bantu Education Act, taking the education of
Africans out of the hands of church
missionaries who Verwoerd found too liberal.
15/4/1953, In South African elections the National
Party under D F Malan secured a clear majority
South Africa the Public Safety Act was passed. This gave the Governor-General,
or in some cases the Minister of Justice, powers to declare a State of Emergency
and override Parliament.
anti-apartheid demonstrations began in South Africa.
South Africa, Prime
Minister D F Malan, having seen the law courts declare Apartheid
unconstitutional, got a Bill passed making Parliament a �High Court�, so it was
able to overrule any legal decisions against Apartheid.
Africa�s Supreme Court ruled that Malan�s Apartheid legislation was unconstitutional. However
this triumph of the Africa National Congress was short-lived, see 22/4/1952.
14/5/1951. South Africa disenfranchised 'Coloured' voters.
1/5/1951, Major anti-Apartheid demonstrations in
Johannesburg, 18 were killed.
1950, The South Africa
Nationalist Party passed several Acts to entrench Apartheid. These were, 1) The
Population Registration Act (1950),
entitling the government to have the final word on people�s racial category, 2)
The Immorality Act (1950), making it
illegal for people of different races to have sex together, and the Group Areas Act (1950), splitting South
Africa up into black and white areas. These were followed by the Reservation of Separatre Amenities Act
(1953), creating segregated toilets, beaches etc. for Blacks and Whites.
29/1/1950. Race policy caused riots
26/5/1948. South Africa elected a Nationalist government with apartheid policies.
South African Government called for more segregation of Black people.
Africa passed laws, The Mines and Works Act, excluding �Coloured�, Indian, and
Black people from all skilled jobs. In the late 19th century,
skilled mining jobs in South Africa could only be filled by Whites. By the
1920s Black people had acquired the necessary skills for these jobs, and White
employees feared their wages would be undercut, so they lobbied the Government
for these racist laws.
6/4/1951, Robert Broom, Scottish-South African
palaeontologist, died in Pretoria, South Africa.
11/9/1950, Death of Jan Smuts, the Boer guerrilla leader who became
16/12/1949, A quarter of a million
Afrikaners attended the unveiling of the Voortrekker Memorial to South Africa�s
Boer pioneers in Pretoria.
14/1/1949, 100 died in Asian-Black
riots in South Africa.
13/1/1949, In Durban, South Africa,
three days of rioting between Africans and Indians began over� a rumour that an Indian had killed an
3/6/1948, DF Malan became Prime Minister
of South Africa.
21/11/1942, J B M Hertzog, South African
politician, died aged 76.
16/12/1938, The foundation stone of the Voortrekker Memorial
was laid in Pretoria, see 16/12/1949.
30/3/1933, In South Africa, J B M Hertzog formed a National
Coalition Government, with J C Smuts as deputy Prime Minister.
28/12/1931, Georg Marais, economics adviser to the South
African Government, was born.
7/10/1931, Desmond Tutu, Anglican
priest, was born in South
Secretary of the South African Council of Churches, he was awarded the Nobel
Peace Prize in 1984.
1927, The first
light was installed in Johannesburg. It was soon knocked down by a car.
30/6/1924, In South Africa, J B Hertzog, Nationalist leader,
formed a Government with Labour support, following the defeat of J C Smuts�
South African Party in elections.
became the official language of South Africa.
12/3/1922, White Nationalists seized control of The Rand,
South Africa�s industrial area, in protest at job losses as Whites lost their
jobs to cheaper Black labour.
8/2/1921. Jan Smuts was elected Prime Minister
of South Africa.
27/8/1919, Louis Botha, South African Boer
general and first Prime Minister from 1910, died.
9/2/1916, Former Boer leader General Jan Smuts was appointed
Commander of British and South African troops in East Africa.
12/1/1916, Pieter Botha,
South African President, was born in Paul Roux in the Orange Free State.
13/12/1915, B J Vorster,
President of South Africa, was born.
9/7/1915. German South West Africa (Namibia) was
conquered. All German troops surrendered to Botha (South Africa),
14/4/1915. South African troops began
an offensive to clear the Germans from German South-West Africa (now Namibia).� See 9/7/1915.
For main events of World War One see France-Germany
13/1/1915. South African troops
occupied Swakopmund in German South West Africa.
14/11/1914. Lord Roberts, Boer War
commander, died whilst visiting British troops in the field in France.
13/11/1914. General Botha�s forces crushed the rebellion
Christaan de Wet in the Orange Free State, opening the way to march
on the German colonists of South West Africa.
13/10/1914, The Boers in South Africa, under Christian de
Wet, rebelled against British rule.
10/9/1914,) South Africa confirmed its loyalty to Britain in
the developing European War.
1913, South Africa passed the Natives Land Act; this set aside 90% of
the country for White people, who comprised less than one third of the
population. Black people were pushed into �homelands�.
25/11/1913, In Natal, police opened fire on demonstrators
protesting against the imprisonment of Mahatma Ghandi, killing 2 and injuring 20.
8/1/1912, The Africa
National Congress (ANC) was formed in Bloemfontein, South Africa. It was
originally known as the South Africa Native National Congress (SANNC), changing
its name in 1923. Its aim was to restore the Zulu Nation, which had been reduced
to virtual slavery by the British after the war of 1879. Pixley ka Isaka Seme was one of
the founders, along with Alfred Mangena, D Montsoia and RW Msimang.
15/9/1910, Louis Botha, an Afrikaner (Boer), became Prime
Minister of South Africa.
1/7/1910. South Africa became a
dominion of the British Empire.
31/5/1910. The colonies of the Cape of Good Hope, Natal, the
Transvaal, and the Orange River Colony united
to form the Union of South Africa, see 31/5/1902.
24/5/1910, In South Africa, L Starr Jameson founded the
Unionist Party, on an imperialist ideology.
7/12/1909, A proclamation was read on the steps of the Royal
Exchange, London, announcing the
creation of the self-governing Union of South Africa.
20/9/1909, The South
Africa Act received the Royal Assent.
16/8/1909, The Conservative leader Arthur Balfour argued that
giving equal rights to South African Black people would undermine White
27/7/1909, MPs gave the South African Union Bill its second
deplored the fact that the Bill would deny the Black population the right to
12/6/1909. Natal voted for union with South Africa.
protests at racial registration
30/1/1908. Mohandas Ghandi, who led a campaign against
the requirement for all Asian people to register, was released from a South
African prison by General Smuts.
11/1/1908, Gandhi was imprisoned in Johannesburg for
refusing to register as an Asian.
Ghandi 1869-1948) started a
civil disobedience campaign in South
He was campaigning against a rule that all Indians in South Africa
had to be finger-printed and carry an ID certificate at all times.� Ghandi had spoken to the British Colonial
Churchill, who assured Ghandi he disagreed with this law. However Transvaal was soon to become self-governing so this
reassurance was of little significance.�
The Transvaal jailed Ghandi,
when he refused to comply with the new rules, but he was soon more of a problem
to them inside jail than out.� Jan Smuts,
Attorney General for Transvaal, had secret
discussions with Ghandi, a compromise was reached, and Ghandi released.
rebellion, suppressed by British
12/12/1907, Dinizulu, King of the Zulus, surrendered to the British; a
Zulu rebellion had been triggered by the imposition of a poll tax.
23/7/1906, 1,000 Zulu rebels surrendered to British
troops in South Africa.
10/6/1906, In South Africa, Zulu leader Bambaata and
100s of his followers were killed.
soldiers killed 60 Zulus at Durban.
20/2/1906, Unrest in Natal grew into a major revolt.
12/12/1906, In South Africa, the Transvaal was given autonomy
6/12/1906, Self government was granted to Transvaal
and the Orange River Colony.
19/7/1906, Alfred Beit, South African financier, died.
11/11/1905, Israel Aaron Maisels, South African
politician, was born in Johannesburg, (died 1994)
26/1/1905. The world�s largest diamond
was found at the Premier Mines in Pretoria,
Wells. The Cullinan Diamond weighed over one and a quarter pounds.
28/9/1902, 15,000 requests a week for South African gold mining permits.
26/3/1902. Statesman and colonial administrator, Cecil John
Rhodes, died aged 48 in Cape
4/8/1901. Gold was discovered in
the South African Rand.
19/5/1901, Marthinus Wessel Pretorius, first President of
the South African Republic, died (born 1819)
9/8/1906,� The Boer War
Commission reported that corruption and incompetence in conducting the war
over �1 million.
14/7/1904, Paul Kruger, leader of the Boer Republic of Transvaal during
the Boer War, died.
25/8/1903, A Royal
Commission into the Boer War criticised poor campaign planning and revealed
that 100,000 British lives were lost.
31/5/1902. The Boer War ended with the Peace of Vereeniging. (See 11/10/1899).
The Boers accepted the sovereignty of the British Crown over Transvaal and the Orange Free State but gained the promise of self government. This
came in 1910 with the Government of South Africa Act, see 31/5/1910. The Boers also received �3 million to
repair and restock their farms. At first the Boers were winning, farmers
humiliating the British Army. However towards the end only 80,000 Boers were
fighting 450,000 elite British troops, the Boers relying on mobility and
guerrilla tactics. Under Lord Kitchener, the British countered the
Boers by herding them off their land into concentration camps where 20,000, one in three inmates,
died of disease and starvation. These camps did much to damage Britain�s
reputation in the world.
British successes against the Boers in South Africa, Kitchener met with Boer leaders
for peace negotiations.
10/4/1902, Fighting in the Boer war ceased.
7/3/1902, The Battle of Tweebosch, the last major Boer victory in the Boer
25/2/1902. Boers routed the British army at Klerksdorp.
25/12/1901, The Boers gained victory in South Africa,
23/10/1901, In South Africa, General Buller was sacked for
8/9/1901, Hendrik Verwoerd, South African Prime Minister
who was responsible for the policy of apartheid,
was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He
was stabbed to death 2 days before his 65th birthday.
7/8/1901, In South
announced that all Boers who failed to surrender by 15 September would be
permanently banished from the territory.
13/2/1902, The UK Government refused to let a
German committee visit the South African Boer concentration camps.
24/7/1901, Britain admitted that over 100,000 people were now
interned in the South African concentration camps.
17/6/1901, Lloyd George spoke out against starvation, lack of hygiene, and poor
conditions in the concentration camps in South Africa, where Britain was
detaining the Boers. The camps had originally been set up to feed Boers
displaced from their farms by the fighting; in February 1901 their function
changed to interning Boer men who might fight a guerrilla war, also their
families who might also use guerrilla tactics. The camps now contained some
75,000 people, mostly women and children.
19/3/1901, The Boer
16/3/1901, Negotiations between Kitchener, for Britain, and the
Boer leader Louis
Botha broke down because Britain refused to accept an amnesty for
Boers and other rebels in the Cape and Natal Provinces.
15/12/1900, Soon after
declared that the Boer War was over, British troops in South Africa suffered a
surprise defeat and the capture of hundreds of their men by the Boer attackers
led by General
P.H. Kritzinger. 573 men in four companies of the Northumberland
Fusiliers were taken prisoner at the battle of Magaliesberg.
12/12/1900, In London, the War Office announced that the Boer War had cost
the lives of over 11,000 soldiers, over two thirds of that number due to
25/10/1900, Britain annexed the former Boer South African
Republic, and renamed it the Transvaal Colony. This ended the Boer War.
leader Paul Kruger travelled
to Germany to ask for support, but Kaiser Wilhelm
II refused to meet him.
annexed the Orange Free State and the Transvaal. Kruger travelled to Germany to
try and gain support for the Boers. However on 6/10/1900 Kaiser Wilhelm II refused to
meet with Kruger.
of Diamond Hill, near Pretoria, Second Boer War. Lord Roberts attacked General Botha,
driving him from his position.
troops captured Pretoria.
South Africa, the city of Pretoria surrendered to British troops under Lord Roberts.
British took Johannesburg.
annexed the Orange Free State,
which became the Orange River Colony.
18/5/1900, At 9:17 p.m. in London, the Reuters news agency
broke the news of the victory at Mafeking. As author Phillip Knightley later noted, "Britain
went mad. The celebrations lasted for five nights, and surpassed the victory
celebrations of the First and Second World Wars in size, intensity, and
became the most popular English hero since Nelson, and a household name not only in
Britain but also throughout the United States
British relieved Mafeking, after a siege of 217 days
which began on 12/10/1899, in the Boer War. Mafeking
was a small railway town on the line from Kimberley
It was of no strategic importance but Colonel Baden-Powell had tied up a force of
10,000 Boers under General Piet Cronje by holding out.
British Army in South Africa used balloon observers to direct fire on Boer
9/4/1900. The Boers defeated the British at Kronstadt.
Prime Minister Lord
Salisbury rejected US President McKinley�s offer to mediate in the Boer War.
13/3/1900. General Roberts captured Bloemfontein, South Africa, in the Second Boer War.
28/2/1900. The relief of Ladysmith, West Natal, South Africa.
20,000 British troops had been besieged by the Boers for 118 days. The British commander Sir Redvers Buller relieved the
siege which began on 2/11/1899. General Buller�s forces had lost 1,000 men
against the Boers at Spion Kop on
24/1/1900, a few miles from Ladysmith; this followed three major British
defeats in 1899. However maintaining the sieges tied up a lot of Boer troops,
allowing time for Britain to bring in reinforcements, and superior British
numbers began to tip the balance against the Boers.
however, were losing huge numbers of horses in their cavalry campaigns during the Boer
War. From 1899-1902 347,000 of the total 518,000 British horses died. The
country was not short of good grazing, and just 2% were lost directly in battle.
Most died of overwork, disease or malnutrition. Attila the Hun may have suffered
similar attrition to his fighting capabilities in the 400s.
27/2/1900. The Boer
General, Piet Cronje, surrendered to the
British after his defeat at Paarderberg.
16/2/1900. Siege of Kimberley by the Boers was lifted by British forces. The
siege had begun on 15/10/1899.
11/2/1900, South African forces under Colonel Hannay
began an invasion of the Orange Free State.
24/1/1900. The British
Warren took Spion Kop, in the Boer
6/1/1900, Battle of
27/12/1899, Harry Escombe, South African politician, died
16/12/1899. At the end
of a bad week for the British in South Africa, 2,000 men and 12 heavy guns had
been lost in battles with the Boers.
15/12/1899. The Boers defeated the British, under Sir Redvers
Buller, at the Battle of Colenso.
11/12/1899. The Boers
Cronje defeated the British at Magersfontein.
15/11/1899. Sir Winston Churchill was captured by the Boers whilst working as
a reporter for the Morning Post. He was on board an armoured train
derailed in an ambush, and had persuaded the engine driver to take the remains
of the train back with the wounded, and was captured by a Boer horseman with a
rifle; Churchill had lost his pistol helping clear the railway line. He escaped
a few weeks later.
2/11/1899. The Boers
Joubert laid siege to Ladysmith, an important railway junction in
Natal. See 28/2/1900.
20/10/1899, Battle at
Talana Hill, near Dundee, Natal, in the Boer
troops defeated the Boers at Glencoe.
15/10/1899. The Boers,
who surrounded Mafeking on 12/10/1899, laid siege to Kimberley. The
siege of Kimberley was lifted by the British on 16/2/1900.
14/10/1899. Winston Churchill left for
South Africa to report for The Morning Post.
Boers began the siege of Mafeking.� Baden Powell defended the town until it wads
relieved by Colonel
Plumer 217 days later.
11/10/1899. The Boer
War began. (See 31/5/1902). It was between the British Empire and the
Republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. President Kruger of the Orange
Free State had sent a telegram to Britain on 9/11/1899 demanding that
Britain stop sending troops and arms to South Africa. Troubles had begun in the
1890s with the discovery of gold and diamonds in the Transvaal and this
prompted many prospectors to arrive in the area. The Boers called them
Uitlanders and President Kruger of the Transvaal taxed them
heavily and refused them the vote. He feared that if they had the vote, Cecil Rhodes, Premier of Cape Province, who
had considerable mining interests, would gain control of the Transvaal. Kaiser William of Germany expressed support
for the Boers in the �Kruger Telegram� of 1896; Britain�s imperial ambitions were making her unpopular abroad at this
The Boers had 50,000 men
against the British with 15,000 regulars in South Africa and another 10,000 due
from India.� The Boers had better
knowledge of the terrain, and their horsemen war more mobile then the ponderous
British forces, whose fighting was based on Crimean tactics.� However the Boers were to waste their forces
in besieging the British in strategically unimportant towns such as Ladysmith,
instead of sending the majority of their forces out in to South Africa and
depriving the British of naval supplies by capturing the ports.
30/12/1897, Zululand was annexed to Natal.
6/1/1896. Cecil Rhodes was forced to resign as Prime Minister of Cape Colony because of his
involvement in the Jameson raid.
2/1/1896, The Jameson Raid, into the Boer colony of Transvaal to support
British settlers, ended in failure.
29/12/1895. Leander Starr Jameson, an agent of the British South Africa Company,
invaded the Boer Republic of Transvaal with 470 men. On 2/1/1896 Jameson
surrendered At Doorn Kop after a defeat at Krugersdorp. On 3/1/1896 Kaiser William
II sent a telegram to Paul Kruger
congratulating him on the defeat of Jameson.
This caused outrage in Britain, which saw the
telegram as an attempt by Germany to expand its
influence in Africa. Britain mocked the German Navy, saying it would be
�child�s play� for the British Navy to wipe it out. Wilhelm I now decided on a course of
massive expansion of the German Navy, seeing Britain no longer as an ally but a
South Africa the Bloemfontein Conference ended with Britain and the Boers
failing to agree on an extension of the franchise to non-Boer Whites, or
Uitlanders, in the Transvaal.
13/11/1893, The Boer republic of the
Transvaal annexed the African State of Swaziland.
10/5/1893, The British colony of Natal, South Africa, became
17/7/1890. Cecil Rhodes became Prime Minister of the Cape
29/10/1889. Britain granted a charter to the British South Africa Company, under Cecil Rhodes, to colonise Bechuenaland and other parts of
21/6/1887, In South Africa, Britain seized Zululand in order to
block the Boer�s access to the sea.
20/9/1886. The city
of Johannesburg was founded.
8/9/1886, Thousands flocked to Witwatersrand, South Africa, as
public gold digging was permitted.
6/2/1886. An English carpenter, George Walker, discovered gold in the Transvaal, South Africa. Whilst digging the
foundations for a cottage for a gold prospector, his shovel uncovered a seam of
gold; specks of the metal had been found in rivers for the past 30 years but
geologists now believed the Witwatersrand Ridge, in the Boer Republic, contained
large gold fields. Boers feared a large influx of foreigners.
8/2/1884, King Cetywayo, former ruler of the Zulus, died, see 29/1/1883.
23/1/1894, King Lobengula of Matabeleland was killed.
16/4/1883, Paul Kruger became President of South Africa.
29/1/1883, King Cetywayo of the Zulus
was restored to a (part of) his old kingdom by the British under Shepstone,
as decided by PM
Gladstone.� However Cetywayo�s
enemies attacked within the week, and after a year�s fighting Cetywayo
was defeated and fled to a native reserve at Ekowe, see 8/2/1884.
9/12/1881, Thomas Burgers, President of the Transvaal
Republic, died (born 15/4/1834).
5/4/1881, The Convention of Pretoria; The Transvaal
became effectively independent, with only nominal British sovereignty.
27/2/1881. The Boers defeated a British force at the Battle of Majuba in Northern Transvaal, killing 359 men. This was
part of a force of 1,500 men that had marched into the Transvaal in December 1880.
28/1/1881, The Boers defeated the British at Laing�s Nek.
30/12/1880, The Transvaal
became a Republic, headed by Paul Kruger.
9/12/1880, After Britain had
annexed the Transvaal in 1877, on this day 9,000 Boers fought for their freedom
and won, see 9/12/1838, 16/12/1949.
16/12/1879, The Transvaal Republic was founded.
28/7/1879, King Cetywayo of the Zulus
was captured by the British.� He was
brought to London in August 1882, where Gladstone decided upon his restoration, but
only to a part of his old Kingdom.� See
4/7/1879, The British
routed the Zulus at Ulundi, see
11/1/1879 and 28/8/2879.
22/1/1879, Battle of Rorke�s Drift, where a few British soldiers fought off a large Zulu army. Eleven VCs were awarded for
11/1/1879. The British-Zulu war began.� Lord Chelmsford entered Zululand, with 13,000
troops.� The British accused the Zulu King,
Cetywayo, of fomenting revolt against the Boers and British.� The British, in December 1878, demanded
reparations from Cetywayo, whilst awarding him the territory he claimed from
the Boers.� See 4/7/1879..
annexed the South African Republic of Transvaal, to the anger of the Boer
farmers. The Transvaal treasury was bankrupt following false hopes
of gold and a costly war against the Black population. At the Sand River
Conference in 1852 Britain had
recognised the Transvaal, but now Britain claimed that the republic was unable
to defend itself and that British subjects there were in danger. The Boers
offered non-violent resistance, and their leader, Paul Kruger, went to London to
present their case.
22/5/1874, Daniel Malan, the South African politician who was responsible for the apartheid
policy, was born in Riebeck West, Cape Province.
27/10/1871. In South Africa, Britain annexed the diamond-rich region
of Griqualand West.
1870, Diamonds were discovered
24/5/1870, Jan Christian
Smuts, South African soldier and Prime Minister, was born in
Malmesbury, Cape Colony.
12/2/1869, Sir John Brand, President
of the Orange Free State, concluded a second Treaty with the Basuto, thye
Treaty of Aliwal North, after they had resumed hostilities following the Treaty
3/4/1866, Sir John Brand, President
of the Orange Free State,� concluded the
Treaty of Thaba Bosigo with the Basuto people of South Africa, against whose
incursions he had been fighting since 1865. See 12/2/1869.
27/9/1862, Louis Botha, South African military commander
and first President of the country in 1910, was born near Greytown, Natal.
12/7/1856, Natal was made a British colony.
1855, The city of Pretoria
was founded. The ground on which it stands was purchased from the Boers
7/10/1854, Christian de
Wet, Boer General, was born.
23/3/1854, Alfred Milner,
British colonial administrator of South Africa, was born.
signed the Convention of Bloemfontein,
agreeing to withdraw from territory in South Africa north of the Orange River.
This left the Orange Free State for Boer settlers.
5/7/1853, The colonial administrator Cecil Rhodes, Prime Minister of Cape Colony 1890-96, was born at Bishops
Stortford, Hertfordshire, the 7th of 11 children..� His father was a vicar.
recognised the independence of the Transvaal Boers.
15/7/1842, The Dutch signed a treaty agreeing that Durban was
under British rule.
16/12/1838 �At the Battle of Blood River, 500 Boers defeated the
Zulus under Dingaan.
This was in revenge for the killing of Boer leader, Piet Retief, and other Zulu
attacks on Boer settllements in February 1838. See 6/2/1838, 9/12/1838,
9/12/1838, Boer commander Andries
Pretorius and his 460 men vowed to observe an annual Day of Thanksgiving if God granted them
victory over the Zulus. Seven days later they met 10,000 Zulus in battle; 3,000
Zulus died for the loss of 2 Boers, and Pretorius kept his vow.
15/4/1834, Thomas Burgers, President of the Transvaal
Republic, was born (died 9/12/1881).
22/9/1828, Shaka, the
Zulu King who founded the Zulu Kingdom in southern Africa, was murdered, aged
41, by his brothers Dingane and Mhlangane; they now ruled
25/7/1838, Harry Escombe,
South African politician, was born (died 27/12/1899).
12/4/1838, British settlers in South Africa heavily defeated the Zulus
at the Battle of Tugela.
17/2/1838, The Weenen Massacre. Voortrekkers were slaughtered by Zulus near the town
of Weenen, South Africa.
6/2/1838, The Boer leader, Piet Retief,
was executed by the Zulu Chief Dingaan.
16/12/1837, The Zulu Chief Dingaan
was defeated by a small force of Boers at Blood River.
1835, The township of Durban was
laid out, named after Sir Benjamin D�Urban, then Governor of Cape Colony.
1/12/1834, The slaves of the British Cape Colony were freed;
this caused resentment amongst Boer farmers who were not consulted over the
20/1/1834, Petrus Joiubert, South African statesman, was
born (died 28/3/1900).
10/10/1825, Paul Kruger, South African politician and Boer leader, was born in Colesberg, Cape Colony.
1824, English colonists first
settled at what is now Durban (see 1835).
6/12/1823, Sir John Brand, President of the Orange Free
State, was born in Cape Town (died 14/7/1888).
13/8/1814, The British took over the colony of Cape of Good
Hope from the Dutch.
24/1/1814, John Colenso, Bishop of Natal, was born (died
10/1/1806. Britain seized the Cape Colony (South
Africa) from the Dutch, whose
government in Europe was a puppet of Napoleon.
The Boers were defeated at the Battle of
Blaawberg. However the Boers, despite having little love for the French,
seemed to like the British even less; Britain seized this colony in 1795, at
the Battle of Muizenberg, but faced a Boer rebellion there in 1801 and gave it
up at the Treaty of Amiens, 1802.
16/9/1795, In June 1795 a British
fleet with 4,000 soldiers arrived off the Dutch
Cape Colony (South Africa) to
prevent the French from taking the territory. This day the British soldiers
landed at Muizenberg, and the Dutch soldiers, under Governor Sluysken, largely fled
without a fight. Sluyksen managed to negotiate a truce with the British, but
was soon evicted from power by settlers in the interior who resisted his rule.
6/6/1781. Dutch Boer settlers in South Africa
massacred black Xhosa tribesmen for the third time in three years. Dutch
settlers were been expanding eastwards, and successfully enslaving or driving
away the Khoisan tribes, but the Xhosa put up more resistance.
31/12/1687, The first boatload of Huguenots sailed from Holland to settle
in South Africa. They took vines to start a wine industry in the new colony.
7/4/1652. The first permanent European settlement in
Africa was founded by the Dutchman Jan Van Riebeck,
at Table Bay. For decades earlier, since the 1500s, ships, mostly Dutch and English,
had anchored here to refit their vessels for the voyage to the east. In 1620 two
Englishmen, officers of the East India
Company, took it upon their own initiative to possess Table Bay in the name
James, for fear that the Dutch would claim the area and charge
English ships to refit there. But London did not approve of their action and it
had no effect. The Portuguese influence was declining and they were not in a
position to resist the Dutch. The English seized St Helena island as a halfway
house to the east. France took colonies in Madagascar and elsewhere. The Dutch settlement was the beginning of the Boer,
21/4/1634, Jan van Riebeck, Dutch surgeon and founder
of Cape Town, was born in The Netherlands.
Diaz, the Portuguese explorer who discovered the Cape of Good Hope in 1488,
was drowned during a storm at sea.
23/5/1498. Vasco da Gama
arrived at Calicut, southern India, after
discovering a route via the tip of southern Africa.
25/1/1498, Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama visited Quelimane
and Mozambique in southeastern Africa.
25/12/1497, The Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama reached the part
of South Africa which he called Natal.
22/11/1497. The Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope in his search for a route to India. His fleet
comprised the St Gabriel, the St Raphael,
the Berrio, and a store ship. See 24/12/1524. He had set sail from
Lisbon on 8/7/1497.
8/7/1497, Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama set sail from
Lisbon to attempt to find a sea passage to India.
3/2/1488, Bartholomew Diaz of Portugal landed in Mossel
Bay, after rounding the Cape of Good Hope (which he called the Cape of Storms).� He was
the first known European to travel this far south.
For pre-European colonisation indigenous African
States in souhern Africa, see Zimbabwe