Cape Colony

Cape Colony
Cape Colony
British colony


Flag Coat of arms
God Save the King
(God Save the Queen 1837–1901)
The Cape Colony ca. 1890
with Griqualand East and Griqualand West annexed
and Stellaland/Goshen claimed (in light red)
Capital Cape Town
Language(s) English, Dutch ¹
Religion Dutch Reformed Church, Anglican
Government Constitutional monarchy
 - 1795–1820 George III
 - 1820–1830 George IV
 - 1830–1837 William IV
 - 1837–1901 Victoria
 - 1901–1910 Edward VII
 - 1797–1798 George Macartney
 - 1901–1910 Walter Hely-Hutchinson
Prime Minister
 - 1908–1910 John X. Merriman
Historical era Scramble for Africa
 - Established 1795
 - Dutch colony 1803–1806
 - Anglo-Dutch treaty 1814
 - Natal incorporated 1844
 - Disestablished 1910
 - 1910 569,020 km2 (219,700 sq mi)
 - 1910 est. 2,564,965 
     Density 4.5 /km2  (11.7 /sq mi)
Currency Pound sterling
Today part of  South Africa ²
¹ Dutch was the sole official language until 1806, when the British officially replaced Dutch with English. Dutch was reincluded as a second official language in 1882.
² Except for the exclave of Walvis Bay, which is now part of Namibia.

The Cape Colony, part of modern South Africa, was established by the Dutch East India Company in 1652, with the founding of Cape Town. It was subsequently occupied by the British in 1795 when the Netherlands were occupied by revolutionary France, so that the French revolutionaries could not take possession of the Cape with its important strategic location. An improving situation in the Netherlands (the Peace of Amiens) allowed the British to hand back the colony to the Batavian Republic in 1803, but by 1806 resurgent French control in the Netherlands led to another British occupation to prevent Napoleon using the Cape. The Cape Colony subsequently remained in the British Empire, becoming self-governing in 1872, and united with three other colonies to form the Union of South Africa in 1910, when it was renamed the Cape of Good Hope Province[1]. South Africa became fully independent in 1931 by the Statute of Westminster

The Cape Colony was coextensive with the later Cape Province, stretching from the Atlantic coast inland and eastward along the southern coast, constituting about half of modern South Africa: the final eastern boundary, after several wars against the Xhosa, stood at the Fish River. In the north, the Orange River, also known as the Gariep River, served for a long time as the boundary, although some land between the river and the southern boundary of Botswana was later added to it.



Dutch East India Company (VOC) traders, under the command of Jan van Riebeeck, were the first people to establish a European colony in South Africa. The Cape settlement was built by them in 1652 as a re-supply point and way-station for Dutch East India Company vessels on their way back and forth between the Netherlands and Batavia (Jakarta) in the Dutch East Indies. The support station gradually became a settler community, the forebears of the Afrikaners, a European ethnic group in South Africa.

The local Khoikhoi had neither a strong political organisation nor an economic base beyond their herds. They bartered livestock freely to Dutch ships. As Company employees established farms to supply the Cape station, they began to displace the Khoikhoi. Conflicts led to the consolidation of European landholdings and a breakdown of Khoikhoi society. Military success led to even greater Dutch East India Company control of the Khoikhoi by the 1670s. The Khoikhoi became the chief source of colonial wage labour.

After the first settlers spread out around the Company station, nomadic European livestock farmers, or Trekboeren, moved more widely afield, leaving the richer, but limited, farming lands of the coast for the drier interior tableland. There they contested still wider groups of Khoikhoi cattle herders for the best grazing lands. By 1700, the traditional Khoikhoi lifestyle of pastoralism had disappeared.

The Cape society in this period was thus a diverse one. The emergence of Afrikaans, a new vernacular language of the colonials that is however intelligible with Dutch, shows that the Dutch East India Company immigrants themselves were also subject to acculturation processes. By the time of British rule after 1795, the sociopolitical foundations were firmly laid.

In 1795, France occupied the Seven Provinces of the Netherlands, the mother country of the Dutch East India Company. This prompted Great Britain to occupy the territory in 1795 as a way to better control the seas in order stop any potential French attempt to get to India. The British assumed control of the territory following the minor Battle of Muizenberg. The VOC transferred its territories and claims to the Batavian Republic (the Revolutionary period Dutch state) in 1798, and ceased to exist in 1799. Improving relations between Britain and Napoleonic France, and its vassal state the Batavian Republic, led the British to hand the Cape Colony over to the Batavian Republic in 1803 (under the terms of the Treaty of Amiens).

Cape Colony
view · talk · edit
Map of the Cape Colony in 1809.

In 1806, the Cape, now nominally controlled by the Batavian Republic, was occupied again by the British after their victory in the Battle of Blaauwberg. The temporary peace between Britain and Napoleonic France had crumbled into open hostilities, whilst Napoleon had been strengthening his influence on the Batavian Republic (which Napoleon would subsequently abolish later the same year). The British, who set up a colony on 8 January 1806,[citation needed] hoped to keep Napoleon out of the Cape, and to control the Far East trade routes. In 1814 the Dutch government formally ceded sovereignty over the Cape to the British, under the terms of the Convention of London.

The British started to settle the eastern border of the colony with the arrival in Port Elizabeth of the 1820 Settlers. In 1854, the Cape Colony received representative government, and in 1872 under Prime Minister JC Molteno, responsible government. The discovery of diamonds around Kimberley in 1870 led to a rapid expansion of British influence into the hinterland under colonialists such as Cecil Rhodes. The ill-fated Jameson Raid curbed this expansion somewhat until British victory following the Second Boer War at the turn of the century. The politics of the colony consequently came to be increasingly dominated by tensions between the British colonists and the Afrikaners, a division that replaced the earlier tensions between the eastern and western halves of the Cape.

The Cape Colony remained nominally under British rule until the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910, when it became the Cape of Good Hope Province, better known as the Cape Province.

Governors of the Cape Colony (1652–1910)

The title of the founder of the Cape Colony, Jan van Riebeeck, was "Commander of the Cape" (initially called "opperhoof"), a position which he held from 1652 to 1662. He was succeeded by a long line of both Dutch and British colonial administrators, depending on who was in power at the time:

Commanders of Dutch East India Company colony (1652–1691)

  • Jan van Riebeeck (April 7, 1652 – May 6, 1662)
  • Zacharias Wagenaer (May 6, 1662 – September 27, 1666)
  • Cornelis van Quaelberg (September 27, 1666 – June 18, 1668)
  • Jacob Borghorst (June 18, 1668 – March 25, 1670)
  • Pieter Hackius (March 25, 1670 – November 30, 1671)
  • Albert van Breugel (acting) (April, 1672 – October 2, 1672)
  • Isbrand Goske (October 2, 1672 – March 14, 1676)
  • Johan Bax dit van Herenthals (March 14, 1676 – June 29, 1678)
  • Hendrik Crudop (acting) (June 29, 1678 – October 12, 1679)
  • Simon van der Stel (December 10, 1679 – June 1, 1691)

Governors of Dutch East India Company colony (1691–1795)

  • Simon van der Stel (June 1, 1691 – November 2, 1699)
  • Willem Adriaan van der Stel (November 2, 1699 – June 3, 1707)
  • Johannes Cornelis d’Ableing (acting) (June 3, 1707 – February 1, 1708)
  • Louis van Assenburg (February 1, 1708 – December 27, 1711)
  • Willem Helot (acting) (December 27, 1711 – March 28, 1714)
  • Maurits Pasques de Chavonnes (March 28, 1714 – September 8, 1724)
  • Jan de la Fontaine (acting) (September 8, 1724 – February 25, 1727)
  • Pieter Gijsbert Noodt (February 25, 1727 – April 23, 1729),
  • Jan de la Fontaine (acting) (April 23, 1729 – March 8, 1737)
  • Jan de la Fontaine (March 8, 1737 – August 31, 1737)
  • Adriaan van Kervel (August 31, 1737 – September 19, 1737) (died after three weeks in office)
  • Daniël van den Henghel (acting) (September 19, 1737 – April 14, 1739)
  • Hendrik Swellengrebel (April 14, 1739 – February 27, 1751)
  • Ryk Tulbagh (February 27, 1751 – August 11, 1771)
  • Joachim van Plettenberg (acting) (August 11, 1771 – May 18, 1774)
  • Joachim van Plettenberg (May 18, 1774 – February 14, 1785)
  • Cornelis Jacob van de Graaff (February 14, 1785 – June 24, 1791)
  • Johannes Izaac Rhenius (acting) (June 24, 1791 – July 3, 1792)
  • Sebastiaan Cornelis Nederburgh and Simon Hendrik Frijkenius (Commissioners-General) (July 3, 1792 – September 2, 1793)
  • Abraham Josias Sluysken (September 2, 1793 – September 16, 1795)

British occupation (1st, 1797–1803)

Batavian Republic (Dutch colony) (1803–1806)

British occupation (2nd, 1806–1814)

British colony (1814–1910)

The post of High Commissioner for Southern Africa was also held from 27 January 1847 to 31 May 1910 by the Governor of the Cape Colony. The post of Governor of the Cape Colony became extinct on 31 May 1910, when it joined the Union of South Africa.

Prime Ministers of the Cape Colony (1872–1910)

No. Name Party Assumed office Left office
1 Sir John Charles Molteno Independent 1 December 1872 5 February 1878
2 Sir John Gordon Sprigg Independent 6 February 1878 8 May 1881
3 Thomas Charles Scanlen Independent 9 May 1881 12 May 1884
4 Thomas Upington Independent 13 May 1884 24 November 1886
Sir John Gordon Sprigg (2nd time) Independent 25 November 1886 16 July 1890
5 Cecil John Rhodes Independent 17 July 1890 12 January 1896
Sir John Gordon Sprigg (3rd time) Independent 13 January 1896 13 October 1898
6 William Philip Schreiner Independent 13 October 1898 17 June 1900
Sir John Gordon Sprigg (4th time) Progressive Party 18 June 1900 21 February 1904
7 Leander Starr Jameson Progressive Party 22 February 1904 2 February 1908
8 John Xavier Merriman South African Party 3 February 1908 31 May 1910

The post of prime minister of the Cape Colony also became extinct on 31 May 1910, when it joined the Union of South Africa.


  1. ^ Statemans Year Book 1920, section on Cape Province


  • Beck, Roger B. (2000). The History of South Africa. Westport, CT: Greenwood. ISBN 031330730X.
  • Davenport, T. R. H., and Christopher Saunders (2000). South Africa: A Modern History, 5th ed. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0312233760.
  • Elbourne, Elizabeth (2002). Blood Ground: Colonialism, Missions, and the Contest for Christianity in the Cape Colony and Britain, 1799–1853. McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 0-7735-2229-8.
  • Le Cordeur, Basil Alexander (1981). The War of the Axe, 1847: Correspondence between the governor of the Cape Colony, Sir Henry Pottinger, and the commander of the British forces at the Cape, Sire George Berkeley, and others. Brenthurst Press. ISBN 0-909079-14-5.
  • Mabin, Alan (1983). Recession and its aftermath: The Cape Colony in the eighteen eighties. University of the Witwatersrand, African Studies Institute. ASIN B0007C5VKA
  • Ross, Robert, and David Anderson (1999). Status and Respectability in the Cape Colony, 1750–1870 : A Tragedy of Manners. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-62122-4.
  • Theal, George McCall (1970). History of the Boers in South Africa; Or, the Wanderings and Wars of the Emigrant Farmers from Their Leaving the Cape Colony to the Acknowledgment of Their Independence by Great Britain. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-8371-1661-9.
  • Van Der Merwe, P.J., Roger B. Beck (1995). The Migrant Farmer in the History of the Cape Colony. Ohio University Press. ISBN 0-8214-1090-3.
  • Worden, Nigel, Elizabeth van Heyningen, and Vivian Bickford-Smith (1998). Cape Town: The Making of a City. Cape Town: David Philip. ISBN 0864864353.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужен реферат?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cape Colony — former name for CAPE PROVINCE …   English World dictionary

  • Cape Colony —    One of the original provinces of the Union of South Africa. Originally founded by the Dutch East India Company in 1652 to supply its fleets headed to the East Indies with fresh food, Cape Colony had fallen into British hands by the start of… …   Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914

  • Cape colony —    Founded in 1652 under the direction of Jan van Riebeeck as a small settlement of the Dutch East India Company for the benefit of eastbound ships, the Cape Colony expanded in the late 18th century to the north and east of South Africa. Since… …   Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands

  • Cape Colony Inn — (Провинстаун,США) Категория отеля: 2 звездочный отель Адрес: 280 Bradford Street, Пр …   Каталог отелей

  • Cape Colony — Cape′ Col ony n. geg former name of Cape of Good Hope 2) …   From formal English to slang

  • Cape Colony — former name of Cape of Good Hope. * * * ▪ British colony, South Africa       British colony established in 1806 in what is now South Africa. With the formation of the Union of South Africa (1910), the colony became the province of the Cape of… …   Universalium

  • CAPE COLONY —    (1,527), comprises the extremity of the African continent south of the Orange River and Natal, and is nearly twice the size of the United Kingdom; the Nieuwveld Berge, running E. and W., divides the country into two slopes, the northern slope… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Cape Colony — noun a former province of southern South Africa that was settled by the Dutch in 1652 and ceded to Great Britain in 1814; in 1994 it was split into three new provinces of South Africa • Syn: ↑Cape Province, ↑Cape of Good Hope Province • Instance… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Cape Colony — geographical name see Cape of Good Hope 2 …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Cape Colony — /keɪp ˈkɒləni/ (say kayp koluhnee) noun former name of Cape Province …  

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”