H295 - Southern Africa to 1910: colonial rule and social change

Key information

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Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of History

Module overview

This module covers the history of southern African from precolonial times to the end of the nineteenth century. The module is to a large extent concerned with the nature and consequences of European conquest of the region, from the establishment and making of a racialised slave society in South Africa during the mid-seventeenth century, through to the conquest of Zimbabwe and the establishment of pax Britannica following the South African War at the end of the nineteenth century. The course concludes with the extension of German colonial rule into Namibia, an episode which culminated in the first genocide of the twentieth century.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module


At the end of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate…

  • understand the broad outlines of the history of southern Africa

  • understand the development of southern Africa as a single historical unit

  • understand the socio-economic and political consequences of colonial rule

  • understand the changing ways in which scholars have written about the southern African past.


Scope and syllabus


Hunters, herders, and farmers in precolonial times; Colonial conquest and the making of a slave society in the Cape; Colonial frontiers; The Mfecane and rise of the Zulu kingdom; Missionaries and the emergence of new societies and cultures; The Mineral revolution; The Conquest of Zimbabwe; The South African War and pax Brittanica in southern Africa; the Namibian Genocide.


Method of assessment


  • Response paper to secondary reading of 700 words (40%)
  • One Essay of 2,500 words (60%)



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