Early History of South Africa: A Climatological Case Study Essay

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Early History of South Africa: A Climatological Case Study

The early history of Cape Town shares little with the experience of the rest of Africa. The patterns of colonization and the relationship between black Africans and nationalized Europeans are unique to the area. The timing and speed of settlement were possible only because of the local disease environment. The system of racial interaction, a system of Aparthide unique to the area, acted differently than other systems because of farming patterns dictated by the fertility of the land. The above are instances of the apparent adaptation of South African cultural development to its climate environment. They show the history and culture of the area are inseparable aspects of the
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As it turns out, Malaria is not able to complete its life cycle in temperatures less than 20°C (68°F)2. When temperatures dip below this mark, as they do for several months of the year, Malaria is pushed northward to warmer temperatures. This cleared the way for European settlement. As you can see in the charts below, temperature zones and malarial areas coincide to a high degree.

In addition to a favorable malarial environment, Cape Town also has a natural defense against disease and pollution. “the South-Easter (otherwise known as the " Cape Doctor ") arises as a spin-off from anticyclones deep in the Southern ocean. It arrives at the peninsula by way of False Bay, its velocity often being given a boost by the "corner effect" round Cape Hangklip.” This strong wind, moving from the high pressure system off the coast of Africa to the pressure low over the city sometimes lasts for more than a week. It is said to behave “somewhat in the manner of a trapped tiger, careering around in the bowl between mountain and sea”. The ‘Doctor’ purges the air of any airborne pathogens, and any pollution that may have become trapped under the temperature inversion sometimes preset over the modern city.3 This serves to keep the city clean, and in the past prevented major outbreaks of disease from spreading as quickly as they otherwise might have. The clean and pleasant environment drew many people to the area, and before long,

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