Sample South Africa - History (Grades 6-8) Worksheet
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South Africa - History
By Ekaterina Zhdanova-Redman
1 As one of Africa's most economically important countries, South Africa and its history have been marked by hundreds of years of power struggles between European settlers and native peoples. In its 500 years of modern history, South Africa has seen the arrival of Dutch settlers, an occupation and rule of British settlers, fierce battles between native Zulu tribes and the settlers and, most recently, social and political struggles between South Africa's white and black populations.
2 Archaeology shows that humans have occupied South Africa since at least two million years ago, when South African natives painted images of prehistoric life on cave walls. The prehistoric paintings there are regarded among historians and archeologists as some of the finest examples of prehistoric art.
3 South Africa's location at the southern tip of the African continent made it an important point for European traders sailing back and forth to India. Bartholomew Diaz, a Portuguese explorer, was the first European to set foot on South African soil when he landed at Mossel Bay in 1488. He was followed by other European explorers, including the famed Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama.
4 European settlement in South Africa began in earnest in the 17th century. In the mid-1600‘s, the Dutch East India Company sent a team of explorers to South Africa to create a supply point for ships en route to India. When the expedition arrived, they set up farms where they grew vegetables and raised meat for ships passing along the Cape of Good Hope along South Africa's southern shores.
5 Some of these Dutch settlers broke away from the company and moved inland to create their own farms. However, the company's determination to maintain a monopoly on farming among the settlers in South Africa angered many of the "free" farmers--called Boers--who moved further and further inland to get away from the company's influence.
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