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Essay from the year 2006 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Culture and Applied Geography, University of Bayreuth, course: PS South African Fiction, 4 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Although historians have not been able to pin down when and where exactly the concept of white supremacy first emerged, the human urge to classify living organisms according to a hierarchical system - from which the idea of supremcy has sprung - is ancient. It is common to several religions and socio-political concepts, yet what is most relevant when looking at the supression and subjugation of indigenous peoples under the hands of white man, are its deep roots within Christian nations, especially in the Middle Ages. The 'divine mission' to spread 'civilisation and belief' was repeatedly used as a pretext for exploitative colonialism, as in the example of the conquest of South America by the Spanish. Centuries later in what is called the Enlightenment period, theories of special creation were abandoned and evolutionary theories gave rise to more concrete ideas about racial superiority of whites, who in this way tried to justify their imperialist motives. At the turn of the 19th century, the industrial European nations were grabbing for colonies, eventually ending up in battle fighting for their share of Africa. Thus, racial theory and white supremacy have been closely related with ultra-capitalilsm.