Southern Africa became the site of the earliest European settlement in the modern African history in 1652, when employees of the Dutch East Indian Company established a supply base on the shore of Table Bay, the site of the modern city of Cape Town.
As the Dutch settlements expanded, they encountered both indigenous Stone Age Khoisan and Iron Age Bantu African peoples. The earliest encounters were with Khoisan who were decimated, enslaved or forced to flee.
The Dutch settlers, called Boers (from the Dutch word for farmer)created very large farms and found it necessary to import labour, so Cape colony imported slaves while much of the rest of Africa exported them. The impact of the Dutch settlement at the Cape are:
1. Enslavement of Africans: The Dutch East India Company provided slaves from West Africa and West India to provide labour for their plantations and livestock. Boers had established large plantations where they kept animals and grew crops like potatoes, watermelon, pumpkins, pineapple and cucumbers.
2. Displacement of African people: Africans were forced to move from their normal productive areas to unproductive areas. Hence the Dutch displaced the native Africans from the fertile areas and took their livestock by force.
3. Social segregation: The Dutch thought themselves superior to Africans, they exploited and mistreated Africans as they were regarded as stupid,uncivilised and faithless thus, laying the foundation of racial segregation.
4. Expansion of Europeans settlement: Dutch activities led other Europeans like British and French to come to South Africa. However, the Dutch population grew dramatically, for example in 1652 Van Riebeeck arrived at the Cape with a few people, by 1662 the Dutch community had grown to 120 people and in 1685 the population increased to 150 Dutch families.
5. The increase of warfare: There were frequent wars between the Africans and the Dutch because the Dutch wanted to rule the Africans and take their land while the Africans demanded freedom. 1779 to 1781, 1789 to 1793 and 1799 to1803 there were Kaffir wars between the Dutch and the Xhosa.
6. Introduction of a new culture: The Dutch introduced a new culture to the Africans and ignored the indigenous culture. For example the new language known as Afrikaans based on the Dutch language and some words from other languages like Portuguese and Khoikhoi languages was born.