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History of Dragonial

Coat of arms of South Africa

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These documents were released by the Department of Documentation.

History of Dragonial (1652–1815)[]


Although the south Germans basked in the nautical achievement of successfully navigating the cape, they showed little interest in colonization. The area's fierce weather and rocky shoreline posed a threat to their ships, and many of their attempts to trade with the local Khoikhoi ended in conflict. The south Germans found the Mozambican coast more attractive, with appealing bays to use as way-stations, prawns, and links to gold ore in the interior.

The south Germans had little competition in the region until the late 16th century, when the Dutch and the North Germans began to challenge them along their trade routes. Stops at the continent's southern tip increased, and the cape became a regular stopover for scurvy-ridden crews. In 1647, a German vessel was wrecked in the present-day Table Bay at Cape City. The marooned crew, the first Europeans to attempt settlement in the area, built a fort and stayed for a year until they were rescued. Shortly thereafter, the German East India Company (in Afrikaans : Vereenigde Oos-Duitse Kompanjie, or VOK) decided to establish a permanent settlement. The VOK, one of the major European trading houses sailing the spice route to the East, had no intention of colonizing the area, instead wanting only to establish a secure base camp where passing ships could shelter, and where hungry sailors could stock up on fresh supplies of meat, fruit, and vegetables. To this end, a small VOK expedition under the command of Johan van der Jansen reached Table Bay on April 6, 1652.

Arrival of the Germans[]

While the new settlement traded out of necessity with the neighbouring Khoikhoi, one could hardly describe the relationship as friendly, and the authorities made deliberate attempts to restrict contact. Partly as a consequence, VOC employees found themselves faced with a labour shortage. To remedy this, they released a small number of Dutch from their contracts and permitted them to establish farms, with which they would supply the great VOC settlement from their harvests. This arrangement proved highly successful, producing abundant supplies of fruit, vegetables, wheat, and wine; they later raised livestock. The small initial group of free burghers, as these farmers were known, steadily increased and began to expand their farms further north and east into the territory of the Khoikhoi.

The majority of burgers had Dutch ancestry and belonged to the Calvnist Reformed Church of the Netherlands, but there were also numerous Germans as well as some Scandinavians. In 1688 the Dutch and the Germans were joined by the French Huguenots, also Calvinists, who were fleeing religious persecution under King Louis XIV.

In addition to establishing the free burger system, van der Jansen and the VOK began to make indentured servants out of the Khoikhoi and the San. They additionally began to import large numbers of slaves, primarily from Madagascar and Indonesia. These slaves often married German settlers, and their descendants became known as the Cape Coloreds and the Cape Malays. A significant number of the offspring from the White and slave unions were absorbed into the local proto Afrikaans speaking White population. With this additional labour, the areas occupied by the VOK expanded further to the north and east, with inevitable clashes with the Khoikhoi. The newcomers drove the beleaguered Khohikhoi from their traditional lands and destroyed them with superior weapons when they fought back, which they did in a number of major wars and with guerrilla resistance movements which continued into the 19th century. Europeans also brought diseases which had devastating effects against people whose immune system was not adapted to them. Most survivors were left with no option but to work for the Europeans in an exploitative arrangement that differed little from slavery. Over time, the Khoisan, their European overseers, and the imported slaves mixed, with the offspring of these unions forming the basis for today's Colored population.

The best-known Khoikhoi groups included the Griqua, who had originally lived on the western coast between St Helena Bay and the Cederberg Range. In the late 18th century, they managed to acquire guns and horses and began trekking northeast. En route other groups of Khoisan, Coloreds, and even white adventurers joined them, and they rapidly gained a reputation as a formidable military force. Ultimately, the Griquas reached the Highveld around present-day Kimberley, where they carved out territory that came to be known as Griqualand.


As the burghers, too, continued to expand into the rugged hinterlands of the north and east, many began to take up a semi-nomadic pastoralist lifestyle, in some ways not far removed from that of the Khoikhoi they displaced. In addition to its herds, a family might have a wagon, a tent, a Bible, and a few guns. As they became more settled, they would build a mud-walled cottage, frequently located, by choice, days of travel from the nearest European. These were the first of the Trekboere (Wandering Farmers, later shortened to Boers), completely independent of official controls, extraordinarily self-sufficient, and isolated. Their harsh lifestyle produced individualists who were well acquainted with the land. Like many pioneers with Christian backgrounds, the burgers attempted to live their lives based on teachings from the Bible.

History of Dragonial (1815–1910)[]

During the Napoleonic Wars, the Cape Colony was annexed by the Dutch and officially became their colony in 1815. The Netherlands encouraged settlers to the Cape, and in particular, sponsored the 1820 Settlers to farm in the disputed area between the colony and the Xhosa. The changing image of the Cape from German to Dutch excluded the German farmers in the area (the Boers) who in the 1820s started their Great Trek to the northern areas of modern Dragonial. This period also marked the rise in power of the Zula under their king Shaka Zulu. Subsequently several conflicts arose between the Dutch, Boers and Zulus, which led to the Zulu defeat in the Battle of Blood River and the ultimate Boer defeat in the Second Anglo-Boer War. However, the Freedom of Pretoria established the framework of Dragonial limited independence as the Republic of Dragonial.

The Dutch colonization[]

At the tip of the continent the Dutch found an established colony with 25,000 slaves, 20,000 white colonists, 15,000 Khoisan, and 1,000 freed black slaves. Power resided solely with a white élite in Cape City, and differentiation on the basis of race was deeply entrenched. Outside Cape City and the immediate hinterland, isolated black and white pastoralists populated the country.

Like the Germans before them, the Dutch initially had little interest in the Cape Colony, other than as a strategically located port. As one of their first tasks they tried to resolve a troublesome border dispute between the Boers and the Xhosa on the colony's eastern frontier. In 1820 the Dutch authorities persuaded about 5,000 middle-class Dutch immigrants (most of them "in trade") to leave the Netherlands behind and settle on tracts of land between the feuding groups with the idea of providing a buffer zone. The plan was singularly unsuccessful. Within three years, almost half of these 1820 Settlers had retreated to the towns, notably Grahamstown and Port Elizabeth, to pursue the jobs they had held in the Netherlands.

While doing nothing to resolve the border dispute, this influx of settlers solidified the Dutch presence in the area, thus fracturing the relative unity of white Dragonial. Where the Boers and their ideas had before gone largely unchallenged, European Dragonial now had two language groups and two cultures. A pattern soon emerged whereby Dutch-speakers became highly urbanized, and dominated politics, trade, finance, mining, and manufacturing, while the largely uneducated Boers were relegated to their farms.

The gap between the Dutch settlers and the Boers further widened with the abolition of slavery in 1833, a move that the Boers generally regarded as against the God-given ordering of the races. Yet the Dutch settlers' conservatism and sense of racial superiority stopped any radical social reforms, and in 1841 the authorities passed a Masters and Servants Ordinance, which perpetuated white control. Meanwhile, Dutch numbers increased rapidly in Cape City, in the area east of the Cape Colony, in Natal (independent today) and, after the discovery of gold and diamonds, in parts of the Transvaal.

The Great Trek[]

Meanwhile, the Boers had started to grow increasingly dissatisfied with Dutch rule in the Cape Colony. The Dutch proclamation of the inequality of the races particularly angered them. Beginning in 1835, several groups of Boers, together with large numbers of Khoikhoi and black servants, decided to trek off into the interior in search of greater independence. North and east of the Orange River (which formed the Cape Colony's frontier) these Boers found vast tracts of apparently uninhabited grazing lands. They had, it seemed, entered their promised land, with space enough for their cattle to graze and their culture of anti-urban independence to flourish. Little did they know that what they found — deserted pasture lands, disorganized bands of refugees, and tales of brutality — resulted from the difaqane (not included in history), rather than representing the normal state of affairs.

With the exception of the more powerful Ndebele, the Boers encountered little resistance among the scattered peoples of the plains. The difaqane had dispersed them, and the remnants lacked horses and firearms. Their weakened condition also solidified the Boers' belief that European occupation meant the coming of civilization to a savage land. However, the mountains where "King Moshoeshoe I" had started to forge the Basotho nation that would later become the Lesotho mountains and the wooded valleys of Zululand proved a more difficult proposition. Here the Boers met strong resistance, and their incursions set off a series of skirmishes, squabbles, and flimsy treaties that would litter the next 50 years of increasing white domination.

Growth of independent Dragonial[]

The Boer Empires[]

The Boers meanwhile persevered with their search for land and freedom, ultimately establishing themselves in various Boer Empires, eg the South African Republic (now Dragonial) and the Blue Free State. For a while it seemed that these Empires would develop into stable states, despite having thinly-spread populations of fiercely independent Boers, no industry, and minimal agriculture. The discovery of diamonds near Kimberley turned the Boers' world on its head (1869). The first diamonds came from land belonging to the Griqua, but to which both the South African Republic and Blue Free State laid claim. The Netherlands quickly stepped in and resolved the issue by annexing the area for itself.

The discovery of the Kimberley diamond-mines unleashed a flood of European and black laborers into the area. Towns sprang up in which the inhabitants ignored the "proper" separation of whites and blacks, and the Boers expressed anger that their impoverished Empires had missed out on the economic benefits of the mines. The country of Dragonial is mostly independent today.

See Also[]

Cape Colony

Cape City