n Historia - The genesis of the South African foot soldier
Assegais, Drums and Dragoons: A Military and Social History of the Cape, 1510-1806, Willem Steenkamp : book review

Volume 59, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



The history of South Africa's armed forces dates back to just more than a century ago, because the unitary state was formed only in 1910, and the Union Defence Forces (since 1957 known as the South African Defence Force, and since 1994 as the South African National Defence Force) was established only in 1912; nevertheless, the country's military history can be traced back many centuries. The first clash between European soldiers and indigenous inhabitants took place at Saldanha Bay in 1510, between Portuguese seamen and members of a local Khoina clan. After Jan van Riebeeck established a refreshment station at the Cape in 1652, the next century and a half saw the Cape under Dutch/VOC (Vereenigde Oost Indische Compagnie, i.e. Dutch East India Company) control. The second British occupation of the Cape in 1806 ushered in a new era in the history of that colony, as well as for the whole of southern Africa.

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