Modern History

 

Around the time of Columbus in the Americas, Vasco Da Gama, a Portuguese sailor was seeking a faster sea route to the east to buy spices, silks and jewels to bring back to Europe. He discovered the Cape of Storms or the tip of Africa and set his mark on the continent. This sparked a flurry of sea trade around Africa to Malaysia and the east. Cape Town harbor became the refueling stop for European ships on the Spice Route to and from the east. Gradually travelers started to take root in the Cape which soon changed hands a couple of times between the Dutch and the English, landing finally and firmly into England’s colonial domain.

 

As the new British settlers advanced into the interior, a series of territorial wars broke out between the British and the early Dutch descendants or the Boers, the Xhosa and the Zulus until the discovery of gold and diamonds. A tremendous Gold and Diamond rush occurred with mining companies grabbing valuable land, and fortunes were made over night. It helped that the labor force to do the lion’s share of the heavy, dangerous work underground was not schooled in a European system of education so was thoroughly exploited for over 150 years. Racial disparities became entrenched in a brutal system of government- namely Apartheid in 1948.

 

During the Apartheid regime, Nelson Mandela, freedom fighter and leader of the opposition party- the African National Congress was imprisoned for life. After massive international sanctions that helped cripple the South African economy, and the subsequent release of Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990, the Apartheid Government was finally abolished in 1994.  Nelson Mandela was sworn in as South Africa’s  first fairly elected President.  His legacy of non-violence and reconciliation brought world wide attention to South Africa.

 

This trip will take you through this modern historical journey.

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