In the second half of the 17th century, the Dutch East India Company supported the development of its South African colony with the importation of slaves from Angola and Guinea. In 1700 the company permitted grazing cattle outside the settlement, which led to growth of the itinerant farmer, or Trekboer, who radiated widely from the base colony in search of pasture for their cattle. Their spread steadily dispossessed the two groups of aboriginal hunter-gatherers, known as the Khoisan, who were indentured to the colonists as labourers. In the 1720s the company captured its own slave-trading port from the Portuguese at Delagoa Bay in Mozambique, bringing them into direct contact with the then waning Bantu Kingdom of Mwenemutapa. Meanwhile the Trekboers’ relentless land expansion caused clashes with the southern Bantu Xhosas in the 1750s. This became armed conflict in 1771, when the Trekboers crossed the Gamtoos river into their territory.
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