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By Charles H. Feinstein

Charles Feinstein surveys years of South African financial heritage from the years previous ecu settlements in 1652 via to the post-Apartheid period. Following the early part of gradual progress, he charts the transformation of the economic system as a result of discovery of diamonds and gold within the 1870s, and the swift upward push of within the wartime years. ultimately, emphasizing the methods through which the black inhabitants was once disadvantaged of land, and brought on to provide hard work for white farms, mines and factories, Feinstein records the creation of apartheid after 1948, and its effects for financial functionality

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Extra resources for An Economic History of South Africa: Conquest, Discrimination, and Development

Sample text

The attitude of the Company was also reflected in their policy with respect to emigration. Once it was realized that there was suitable land available, and that former sailors and soldiers, who became the first colonists, would never make good farmers, small numbers of emigrants were brought from Holland. Some fifty men with experience of farming, and a small number of young women from orphanages in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, arrived in the late 1680s. At the end of that decade some two hundred Huguenots – a small part of the great number of French Protestants who had taken refuge in Holland when Louis XIV revoked the edict which had protected them – were settled by the Company at the Cape.

However, the residents of these settlements were still primarily farmers, who moved seasonally to their fields. Generally harsh environmental conditions created the prospect of recurrent crop failures, and the farmers were also afflicted by cattle diseases, locusts, and other pests. All this made it an appropriate strategy to spread risk by cultivating several fields scattered over a wide area, embracing different soils and varied opportunities for rain. As Sansom explains, Precipitation and soil types are related in complex ways to affect productivity.

However, the dominant economic factor was the shortage of land. They could not maintain even their extensive system of stock farming in the arid land that remained to the north, and a large body of Africans stood between them and the highrainfall regions to the east. Their movement accordingly took them in a north-easterly direction between these two barriers. They crossed the Orange River near its southernmost loop, and travelled on to the great central plain known as the highveld. The main body of trekkers moved into Natal, where they established a republic in 1838, with the extremely enticing prospect that this would Seizing the land: conquest and dispossession 31 give them their own port (then Port Natal, now Durban) free from British control.

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