South Africa to the end of Apartheid (1652 – 1993)
Jan van Riebeeck founds the Cape Colony at Table Bay.
The British take control of Cape Colony.
The British defeat the Zulus in Natal.
1889 – 1902
Boers rebel against the British, sparking the first Anglo-Boer War. Conflict ends with a negotiated peace.
Transvaal is restored as a republic.
Formation of Union of South Africa by former British colonies of the Cape and Natal, and the Boer republics of Transvaal, and Orange Free State.
Native National Congress founded, later renamed the African National Congress (ANC).
Native Land Act.
The Union of South Africa parliament declares the country to be “a sovereign independent state.”
National Party/Beginning of Apartheid.
Population classified by race. Group Areas Act passed to segregate blacks and whites. Communist Party banned. ANC responds with campaign of civil disobedience led by Nelson Mandela.
Bantu Authority Act.
Bantu Education Act.
Sharpeville Massacare. ANC banned.
Rivonia Treason Trial. Nelson Mandela and 10 others are imprisoned.
The Bantu Homelands Citizenship Act.
Black Labor Union Strike.
Soweto Youth Uprising.
United Democratic Front is formed.
State of Emergency begins.
Formation of COSATU (Congress of South Africa Trade Unions).
FW de Klerk replaces PW Botha as president, meets Mandela.
Public facilities desegregated.
Many ANC activists freed.
State of Emergency ends.
Release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners.
Start of multi-party talks.
De Klerk repeals remaining apartheid laws, international sanctions lifted.
Major fighting between ANC and Zulu Inkatha movement.
Agreement on interim constitution.
South Africa Beyond Apartheid (1994 – 2014)
First democratic South African election. Nelson Mandela elected president.
International sanctions lifted.
South Africa takes seat in UN General Assembly.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission begins hearings on human rights crimes committed by former government and liberation movements during apartheid era.
Parliament adopts new constitution.
General elections. Thabo Mbeki becomes president.
ANC prevails in local elections. Recently-formed Democratic Alliance captures nearly a quarter of the votes. The Inkatha Freedom Party wins 9%.
High Court rules that pregnant women must be given AIDS drugs to help prevent transmission of the virus to their babies.
Constitutional court orders government to provide key anti-AIDS drug at all public hospitals.
Walter Sisulu, a key figure in the anti-apartheid struggle, dies aged 91.
Government approves major public health system program to treat HIV/AIDS.
Ruling ANC wins landslide general election. Thabo Mbeki begins a second term as president.
Investigators exhume the first bodies in a Truth and Reconciliation Commission investigation into the fates of hundreds who disappeared during the apartheid era.
President Mbeki sacks his deputy, Jacob Zuma, due to charges of corruption.
Former deputy president Jacob Zuma acquitted of rape charges, reinstated as deputy leader of ANC.
South Africa becomes the first African country to allow same-sex unions.
Cape Town mayor Helen Zille elected leader of main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).
Public-sector workers mount largest strike since end of apartheid, causing widespread disruption to schools, hospitals, and public transport for one month.
Zuma elected chairman of the ANC; new corruption charges brought against him.
Violence directed at foreigners causes exodus of thousands of Zimbabweans, Malawians, and Mozambicans.
Corruption case against ANC’s Zuma thrown out.
President Mbeki resigns over allegations that he interfered in Zuma’s corruption case.
ANC deputy leader Kgalema Motlanthe chosen by parliament as president.
First real challenge to the ANC: Congress of the People – or COPE – party made up of ANC defectors led by former defense minister Mosiuoa Lekota.
Jacob Zuma elected president.
Economy goes into recession for first time in 17 years.
Township residents complaining about poor living conditions mount violent protests.
South Africa hosts the World Cup football tournament.
Civil servants stage nation-wide strike.
DA party doubles its share of the vote in local elections since last poll.
President Zuma sacks two ministers accused of corruption.
DA party picks Lindiwe Mazibuko, a black woman, as its parliament leader.
ANC suspends influential youth leader Julius Malema for five years for bringing the party into disrepute.
National Assembly approves information bill accused by critics of posing a threat to freedom of speech.
Police open fire on workers at platinum mine in Marikana, killing 34, injuring 78, and arresting 200.
Julius Malema charged with money laundering.
President Zuma re-elected as leader of the ANC.
Nelson Mandela passes away.
South Africa’s Fifth Democratic Elections.