The Xhosa people are some of the inhabitants of southern Africa at the time Europeans began settling the Cape (16th century).
The Xhosa are Bantu speakers. Xhosa is today the second most common South African home language, after Zulu to which Xhosa is actually strongly related. Xhosa-speaking peoples conceas a nation. They are divided into several tribes with related but distinct histories and tradituions. The Xhosa people once inhabited the southern and central-southern parts of what is now South Africa. The Xhosa people inhabited an area well north of the Cape in an area betweem Bushman's River and the Kei River. They wwere what might be called stock farmers, meaning they kept heards of lifestock and farmed. Eventually the Europeans began moving into this area. The first Europeans were the Trek Boers who began moving into the area from the West. The two groups both kept livestock and thus competed for grazing land. Quarrels eventually became more serious and led to actual wars (19th century). The colonial authorities sought to avoid conflict by the only practical method--keeping white and black settlements separate. And the Fish River was chosen as the border. As the colony developed, however, the white population expanded and with the acquisition of modern arms
developed a far superior military capability. White settlers thus began to increasingly annex land and subjegate the Xhosa and other blacks. White settlers evenntually had control of the land once occpied by the Xhosa (mid-19th century). The African Union which formed the modern state of South Africa was founded (1910). It united the British Cape Colony and the formerly indeperndent Bohr Republics. It was a democratic state for whites, but the Xhosa and other African people were denied the right to vote. During the subsequent Aparheid era, native people were made to move into 'homelands' where they were allowed to purchase land. For the Xhosa these were Ciskei and Transkei.
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