Poverty and violence are issues of global importance. In Poverty, War, and Violence in South Africa, Clifton Crais explores the relationship between colonial conquest and the making of South Africa's rural poor. Based on a wealth of archival sources, this detailed history changes our understanding of the origins of the gut-wrenching poverty that characterizes rural areas today. Crais shifts attention away from general models of economic change and focuses on the enduring implications of violence in shaping South Africa's past and present. Crais details the devastation wrought by European forces and their African auxiliaries. Their violence led to wanton bloodshed, large-scale destruction of property, and famine. Crais explores how the survivors struggled to remake their lives, including the adoption of new crops, and the world of inequality and vulnerability colonial violence bequeathed. He concludes with a discussion of contemporary challenges and the threats to democracy in South Africa. Written for general readers and specialists alike, this book overturns conventional wisdom and offers new ways of understanding violence and poverty in the modern world.