Famously, W. K. Hancock, in his Survey of British Commonwealth Affairs made a distinction between those areas of the world which were, or had been, colonies of white settlement, and those in which colonialism was primarily concerned with the exploitation of the labour of colonised people, either in plantations or mines, or more often through the encouragement of their production of marketable crops. This was the distinction between the “Settlers’ ” and the “Traders’ ” frontiers.1 South Africa falls into both categories. It would be difficult to imagine a history of South Africa without white settlement. South Africa may no longer be politically dominated by people who can trace their ancestry back to immigrants from Europe, at least in part, though it was until 1994. The modern country is the constitutional continuation of the colonies which came to be dominated by settlers, and their descendants still play a major role in its economic and social life. The lingua franca of the country tends to be English, and one of its other official languages, Afrikaans, is a creole tongue based on Dutch. The legal system derives from Roman law, via that of the Dutch Republic, and the main developments of this have been through the encounter with English law. The religion of most South Africans is some form of Christianity, which was imported from Europe, though it has been often much altered in the process of naturalisation in South Africa. The very landscape of much of the country has been greatly altered by the introduction of European crops, and of other plants from across the globe. Of all the countries on the African continent, South Africa has been the most affected by the presence of white settlers in its territory. This chapter will survey how the European settlers conquered the land, and how the societies they founded were constituted.