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The Shaping of South African Society, 1652–1840.

The only book devoted to the first 200 years of that nation's history based on recent research.

History is a powerful aid to the understanding of the present, and those who are concerned with the escalating crisis in South Africa will find this an invaluable source book.

This is the story of the evolution of a society in which race became the dominant characteristic, the primary determinant of status, wealth, and power. Cultural chauvinism of the first European colonists – primarily the Dutch – merged with economic and demographic developments to create a society in which whites relegated all blacks – free blacks, Africans, imported slaves – to a systematic pattern of subordination and oppression that foreshadowed the apartheid of the twentieth century. From the beginning of the nineteenth century the new empire-builders, the British, reinforced the racial order. In the next century and a half the industrialized South Africa would become firmly integrated into the world economy.

Published originally in South Africa in 1979 and updated and expanded now, a decade later, this book by twelve South African, British, Canadian, Dutch, and American scholars is the most comprehensive history of the early years of that troubled nation. The authors put South Africa in the comparative context of other colonial systems. Their social, political, and economic history is rich with empirical data and rests on a solid base of archival research. The story they tell is a complex drama of a racial structure that has resisted hostile impulses from without and rebellion from within.

About the Authors

RICHARD ELPHICK is professor of history at Wesleyan University. He is the author of Kraal and Castle: Khoikhoi and the Founding of White South Africa and editor (with Jeffrey Butler and David Welsh) of Democratic Liberalism in South Africa: Its History and Prospect (Wesleyan 1987). Hermann Giliomee is professor of political studies at the University of Cape Town. He is the author of Die Kaap tydens die Eerste Britse Bewind and co-author (with André du Toit) of Afrikaner Political Thought: Analysis and Documents, 1780-1850. The other authors are JAMES C. ARMSTRONG, field director of the Library of Congress, Nairobi; WILLIAM M. FREUND, University of Natal, Durban; LEONARD GUELKE, University of Waterloo, Ontario; MARTIN LEGASSICK, author and journalist, formerly of the University of Warwick; V.C. MALHERBE, co-author of The Khoikhoi Rebellion in the Eastern Cape (1799-1803); J.B. PEIRES, Rhodes University, Grahamstown; ROBERT ROSS, University of Leiden; GERRIT SCHUTTE, Free University, Amsterdam; ROBERT SHELL, Princeton University; and NIGEL A. WORDEN, University of Cape Town.


"A milestone . . . which anyone seriously concerned with the history of South Africa should read."—J. B. Peires
Wesleyan University Press

9780819573766 : the-shaping-of-south-african-society-1652-1840-elphick-giliomee
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646 Pages
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