The history of modern-day South Africa can be traced back to the settlement of the region by numerous African, European and Asian peoples over the centuries. This region was the site of some of the largest and most complexly organised African kingdoms on the continent. It was also the earliest site of continuous European settlement in sub-Saharan Africa. Slaves were primarily imported into, rather than out of, South Africa, in contrast to the rest of the African continent. And in the nineteenth century, South Africa became the richest region on the continent with the discovery of diamonds and the world’s largest known deposit of gold. This combination of factors – diversity, longevity, power and wealth – created the framework for the events that would lead to the introduction of apartheid in 1948.