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Arrival of Europeans and the Mfecane, Early British Settlement

new labor laws, Great Trek, Congress of Vienna, Orange River, Cape Colony

British forces twice occupied the Cape region, in 1795 and in 1806; in 1814 Britain was granted the Cape Colony in a treaty drawn up at the Congress of Vienna, at which European powers negotiated the end of the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815). After 1820 thousands of British colonists arrived in South Africa and demanded that English law be imposed. English became the official language in 1822, Khokhoi workers were given protection under new labor laws in 1828, and slavery was abolished in 1833.

These measures were bitterly resented by Afrikaners and resulted in the Great Trek, in which thousands of Afrikaners migrated northward, some settling in Natal and others continuing east across the Orange River and north across the Vaal River. From 1835 to the early 1840s, between 12,000 and 15,000 Afrikaner families, accompanied by slaves and servants, left the Cape Colony because changes introduced by the British were intolerable.

Article key phrases:

new labor laws, Great Trek, Congress of Vienna, Orange River, Cape Colony, Vaal River, Napoleonic Wars, European powers, official language, British forces, treaty, English law, Natal, servants, slavery, slaves, Britain, British, South Africa, measures, end, changes, protection


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