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AfricaImmigration Into Africa

In modern times, the major movements into the continent have been of European settlers into northern Africa and of European and Asian settlers in Southern and East Africa. The Dutch migrations into Southern Africa began in 1652, when a European settlement was established by the Dutch East India Company at the Cape of Good Hope. The colony was intended to serve merely as a refreshment station for the company's ships on their way to India and was originally peopled by the company's servants. But with the decision to allow some of these people to settle as free citizens owning their own farmlands, the Dutch (Boer) population in the region began to swell, and soon a deliberate policy of increasing the settler population was instituted to strengthen it against possible attacks. More Dutchmen arrived as well as a party of French Protestant Huguenots fleeing religious persecution in France. The French refugees lost their language and became absorbed into the predominantly Dutch population. As most were farmers, this meant that more land was needed as the population increased. From the coast, the settlers later moved inland to the Highveld region, where, in the nineteenth century, a series of military conflicts occurred between them and the Bantu speakers. The Dutch—and the absorbed French refugees—constituted about one-third of the European population and were the ancestors of many modern white South African families. Other major European settlements took place in the nineteenth century: the British were dominant in modern-day KwaZulu/Natal Province of South Africa as well as in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and the East African highlands; the Germans were predominant in modern Namibia; and the Portuguese were in Angola and Mozambique.

When the European colonies were first founded, there was no conscious policy of introducing racial discrimination and settler rule. However, the presence of large settler populations later affected the pace of political developments in these territories, and the achievement of self-government and independence by the African peoples of South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Angola, and Mozambique was delayed. The struggles for independence and majority rule became the source of much bitterness and violence between races in Southern Africa. On the other hand, the growth of Arab nationalism and the emergence of Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia—North African countries with vast European settler populations—as independent states led to the return of between one and two million colonists to their European homelands in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Methane to Molecular clockMigration - Africa - Internal Migration, Immigration Into Africa, Emigration From Africa, Explaining African Migration, Conclusion, Bibliography