South African Natural Resources

Discusses the discovery of gold and diamonds in South Africa and its effect on the country’s history.

Because of its rich natural resources, South Africa has long been the victim of social, economic and political exploitation. European settlers in the 17th century took advantage of the country’s location as a port and also began to exploit its rich land for agricultural purposes at the expense of the country’s native population. The discovery of gold and diamonds in the 19th century made the situation much worse and the new economy found the natives becoming virtual slaves while their country became colonial. The eventual culmination of this colonialism, apartheid, would have devastating effects on the economic and political power of the natives, power which is being slowly restored by a more sympathetic and modern government.