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Northwards and Eastwards . . .
The migration from the Cape took two routes: firstly northwards until the land became arid and then east to the Great Karoo and secondly, directly eastwards fanning out into the interior through the coastal ranges.
Eventually, the two groups met close to the Orange River. Within a hundred years of the first settlement at the Cape, Boers (Dutch settler farmers) were venturing across the Orange River - the border of the Cape Colony, five hundred miles from Cape Town.
At this point, the migration stopped suddenly. In the north, the land was arid, in the centre, there was resistance from local Bushmen and in the South, the advance guard had encountered a new type of local inhabitant.
The Voortrekkers Encounter their First Resistance
While experiencing little resistance when rustling cattle from Bushmen, the Xhosa tribes that the Boers encountered were prepared to fight tenaciously to protect their cattle.
The Great Fish River became the rough and ready frontier, separating two groups with vastly differing cultures. The river itself was no obstacle with little water in it during the winter which permitted frequent raiding in both directions.
Problems at the Front and Rear for the Trekboers
At this river, it may be said that the long struggle between the white man and the black man started in South Africa.
So, by the end of the 18th century the Afrikaners occupied a territory larger than France, had subdued the local African population and had developed a language of their own.
The Company in Cape Town attempted to bring these frontiersmen under control by establishing magistracies in Graaf Reinet and Swellendam but caused open revolt in these areas.
However, the good life of the Afrikaner farmers was coming to an end after 150 years. The British decided to occupy the Cape. With the British came redcoats and after the redcoats came the missionaries.