A Tempest in a Teapot? : Nineteenth-Century Contests for Land in South Africa's Caledon Valley and the Invention of the Mfecane

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Abstract

The unresolved debate on the mfecane in southern African history has been marked by general acceptance of the proposition that large-scale loss of life and disruption of settled society was experienced across the whole region. Attempts to quantify either the violence or mortality have been stymied by a lack of evidence. What apparently reliable evidence does exist describes small districts, most notably the Caledon Valley. In contrast to Julian Cobbing, who called the mfecane an alibi for colonial-sponsored violence, this article argues that much documentation of conflict in the Caledon region consisted of various 'alibis' for African land seizures and claims in the 1840s and 1850s.
Peer-reviewedYes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-219
JournalJournal of African History
Volume45
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2004


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