Original Research

Suid-Afrika buite die Kaapkolonie in die tydperk 1650-1800 – interpretasies van vakhistorici

Pieter de Klerk
New Contree | Vol 67 | a287 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/nc.v67i0.287 | © 2024 Pieter de Klerk | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 February 2024 | Published: 30 December 2013

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Pieter de Klerk, North-West University, South Africa

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During the period 1650 to 1800 the Dutch colony at the Cape expanded gradually, to include, ultimately, almost the western half of South Africa. Studies about this period in South African history deal mainly with the Cape Colony. Research on developments in the eastern half of South Africa during the same period has been done by archeologists and anthropologists, but also by a small group of historians. In order to have a good understanding of the major trends in South African history, academic historians have to be familiar with developments in the region to the east and the northeast of the Cape Colony before 1800. In this article published texts by professional historians about aspects of the history of the eastern half of South Africa during the period 1650 to 1800 are examined. The article focuses on three issues: the general characteristics of these studies; the importance that historians attach to Western influence on developments in this area; and the integration of these developments by writers of historical overviews within the broader context of general South African history. It is concluded that academic historians have not been able to provide more than a vague outline of the history of this area before 1750. On the period after 1750 more research has been done, and scholars have pointed out that direct and indirect contact with European traders, and also with travellers and invaders with a partially European background, had a strong impact on the Bantu-speaking peoples. The history of the eastern half of South Africa during the period 1650 to 1800 does not figure prominently in recent historical overviews. There are, however, a few notable exeptions. The texts of Van Aswegen, Parsons and Giliomee & Mbenga can be regarded as examples of a new effort to treat developments in the area outside the Cape Colony before 1800 as important elements in describing and interpreting the main trends in the history of South Africa.


South African historiography; Early South African history; Precolonial history; Bantu-speaking peoples; Nguni; Sotho


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