History of Durban

The first known inhabitants of the Durban area came from the north around 100,000 BC.
These results are based on carbon dated rock art found in the area. These people lived in the central plains of KwaZulu-Natal until the Bantu people expanded into the area within the last millennium.

There is no written history until the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama came to the coastline looking for a new route from Europe to India in 1497. He named the area Natal after “Christmas” in Portuguese.

The modern city of Durban began in 1824 when a group of men from Britain landed in the Cape Colony and established a settlement along the northern shore of the Bay of Natal. The Zulu king Shaka granted one of the men a twenty-five mile strip of coastline at a hundred miles depth. After a local meeting it was decided to name the town “d’Urban” after the governor of the Cape Colony at the time.

At one point, fighting between the settlers and the Zulu population resulted in the evacuation of Durban. Eventually, in 1844, Durban was accepted into British annexation and a number of settlers emigrated from Europe to the area.

Because of the use of indentured laborers from India, the plantations around Durban thrived. Durban also became the largest Asian community in South Africa.

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