What was the significance of Balboa's discovery?
Following the Portuguese and Spanish examples, several other European powers sought to expand their trade networks. By the 1600s, the French, English, and Dutch all had footholds along the coast of West Africa. These outposts often changed hands as European countries battled for control of the new trade routes. Like the Portuguese, they used these footholds to protect and expand their trade routes in Africa, the Indian Ocean, and India.
In 1652, Dutch settlers began to arrive at the southern tip of the continent. They built Cape Town, the first permanent European settlement in Africa, to supply ships sailing to or from the East Indies.
Dutch farmers, called Boers, settled around Cape Town. Over time, they ousted, enslaved, or killed the people who lived there. The Boers held a Calvinist belief that they were the elect, or chosen, of God. They looked on Africans as inferiors. In the 1700s, Boer herders and ivory hunters began to push north from the Cape Colony. As they did so, they battled powerful African groups like the Zulus who had settled in southern Africa.
By the mid-1600s, the British and French had both reached present-day Senegal. The French established a fort in the region around 1700. In the late 1700s, stories about British explorers' search for the source of the Nile River sparked an interest in Africa among Europeans, especially the French and British. In 1788, the British established the African Association, an organization that sponsored explorers to Africa. Over the next century, European exploration of Africa would explode.
Why did the European presence in Africa expand?
In the late 1600s, the Dutch colony at Cape Town was busy with arriving and departing ships.