South Africa: Key events in history

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1652: Dutch East India Company representative arrives in present-day Cape Town.

1771: Settlers expanding into eastern Cape begin series of wars with Xhosa tribe.

1795: British capture Cape Colony from Dutch.

1838: Dutch trekkers arrive in Natal province, defeating Zulu army. Proclaim a Boer republic in northern Natal.

1899-1902: Britain annexes Orange Free State and South African Republic, establishing hegemony over South Africa.

1913: Native Land Act, cornerstone of racial segregation, divides South Africa into black and white areas.

1948: National Party wins power and introduces apartheid laws.

1960: Police kill 69 people during anti-apartheid protests at Sharpeville. ANC and Pan Africanist Congress banned.

1961: Nelson Mandela proposes armed struggle. Following year he is jailed for life.

1976: Riots in Soweto bring calls for sanctions.

1977: Black leader Steve Biko dies in police custody. State clamps down on activists. UN imposes arms embargo.

1990: President F W de Klerk acknowledges apartheid has failed, frees political prisoners including Mr Mandela and legalises ANC and other banned groups.

1991: Multi-party talks begin on transition to majority rule.

Oct 1993: UN lifts all but arms sanctions. President De Klerk and Mr Mandela awarded Nobel Peace Prize.