Slavery, Emancipation and Colonial Rule in South Africa examines the rural Cape Colony from the earliest days of Dutch colonial rule in the mid-seventeenth century to the outbreak of the South African War in 1899.
For slaves and slave owners alike, incorporation into the British Empire at the beginning of the nineteenth century brought fruits that were bittersweet. The gentry had initially done well by accepting British rule, but were ultimately faced with the legislated ending of servile labor. To slaves and Khoisan servants, British rule brought freedom, but a freedom that remained limited. The gentry accomplished this feat only with great difficulty. Increasingly, their dominance of the countryside was threatened by English-speaking merchants and money-lenders, a challenge that stimulated early Afrikaner nationalism. The alliances that ensured nineteenth-century colonial stability all but fell apart as the descendants of slaves and Khoisan turned on their erstwhile masters during the South African War of 1899–1902.