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History's Most Dangerous Myth

Examine the empty land theory, which was created by European colonizers in South Africa.

mercredi 19 juil., Il y a 5 mois
 5 min

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From the 1650s through the late 1800s, European colonists arrived in South Africa, seeking to claim the region for themselves due to its abundant natural resources. They violently displaced numerous Indigenous communities, ignoring the fact that the land was not empty and had been inhabited by Africans for millennia. The colonizers disregarded the traditional practice of land ownership, where land belonged to families or groups, not individuals. The colonizers, driven by the Empty Land Theory, claimed the land was empty and justified their actions by portraying the locals as barbarians who needed their rule.

This myth was used in other countries too, and in South Africa, it led to institutionalized racism, exemplified by the Glen Grey Act that deprived native Africans of their ancestral lands and created a class of landless people.


• Abundant
Existing in large quantities; plentiful.

• Ruthless
Showing no compassion or mercy; cruel and harsh.

• Sought
Past simple and past participle of seek.

• Scramble
A hurried attempt to get something.

• Settle
To arrive, especially from another country, in a new place and start to live there and use the land.

• Cattle
A group of animals that includes cows, buffalo, and bison, that are often kept for their milk or meat.

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