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In 1652, a refreshment station was established at the Cape of Good Hope by Jan van Riebeeck on behalf of the Dutch East India Company.
Great Britain took over the Cape of Good Hope area in 1795 ostensibly to stop it falling into the hands of the Revolutionary French, but also seeking to use Cape Town in particular as a stop on the route to Australia and India. It was later returned to the Dutch in 1803, but soon afterwards the Dutch East India Company declared bankruptcy. The government of the Batavian Republic then took over directly the colony.
Unwilling to let it expand farther, local born Batavians (known as Boers) took it upon themselves to colonise the interior of the continent leading to the establishment of a number of separate boers republics.