Cape Colony

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Cape Colony / Kaapkolonie
Cape Colony
Historic flag of the Cape Colony
NetherlandsNetherlands Dutch Cape ColonySouth African Union South Africa 1910South African Union
Official languages English and Dutch 1
Capital Cape Town
surface 569,020 km² (1910)
1 Dutch was the only official language until 1806, and English from 1806 to 1882. In 1882 Dutch became the second official language.
Cape colony (orange) in the later Union of South Africa

The Cape Colony was initially a Dutch, later a British colony in what is now South Africa . At the time of its greatest expansion, it stretched from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Fish River in the east. In the north, the Orange River , also known as the Gariepfluss, formed the border for a long time. Later the land between the Orange and today's border of Botswana was added.

The history of the Cape Colony began in 1652 with the founding of Cape Town by Jan van Riebeeck on behalf of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). The city was intended as a base for supplying ships with food. Great Britain occupied the area in 1795 during the Napoleonic Wars and returned it to the Batavian Republic in 1803 . In 1806 the Cape Colony was reoccupied by the British in the course of the British-French colonial conflict in order to keep Napoleon away and to control the sea trade routes. On January 8, 1806, after the Battle of Blaauwberg, the Cape became a British colony . From 1810 to 1812 there was a brief occupation by the French Empire . In 1910 the Cape Colony became part of the South African Union as the Cape Province .

Until 1806

First settlement

The Dutch settlement of the area began in March 1647 with the wreck of the ship Nieuw Haarlem. The castaways built a small fort called "Sand Fort van de Kaap de Goede Hoop". After their return to the Netherlands, some of them tried to persuade the Dutch East India Company (VOC) to establish a base on the Cape.

An expedition with 90 Calvinist settlers under the command of Jan van Riebeeck founded the first permanent settlement on behalf of the VOC in 1652 near the Cape of Good Hope. Van Riebeeck was already part of the crew of the ships that rescued the wrecked sailors. On April 6, 1652 they reached the port of today's Cape Town with the five ships Reijer , Oliphant , Goede Hoop , Walvisch and Dromedaris.

It was not until 1671 that the settlement expanded beyond the original boundaries of the fort built by van Riebeeck through land purchases from the Khoikhoi . Most of the first colonists came from the lower middle class. They had a relatively indifferent attitude towards the development of the colony, as the VOC did not allow more than the cultivation necessary for seafaring and personal use, the colonists only sent out for a while and did not allow wives. It was not until 1685 that active attempts were made to bring settlers into the country. Since recruiting in Europe initially proved difficult, Malays first came to the Cape Colony and began colonizing the hinterland.
The early Malay immigrants came to the Cape region as slaves since 1667. More workers were later brought here from Southeast Asia. This inhomogeneous population group gradually created the first Islamic communities in the Cape Colony.

After the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, 150 French Huguenots came to the Cape. Since they were the first winemakers in the colony, they influenced further settlement policy through their need for certain vineyards. Stellenbosch, founded in 1679, is still famous today for its viticulture .

Further expansion

The Cape Colony now expanded further north and east. This resulted in increased conflicts with the nomadic Khoikhoi. These were also in 1713 and 1755 by smallpox - epidemics decimated. Some tribes eventually remained independent, but most of the Khoikhoi hired themselves out as shepherds with the colonists. Nevertheless, the conflict between nomads and farmers continued to smolder. In 1787 the Dutch government imposed restrictions on the Khoikhoi that made them more dependent on the farmers. The subsequent emigration of the Khoikhoi to areas north of the Cape Colony brought them into conflict with the San resident there .

As the European colonists penetrated the territory of the San, they were increasingly tempted to steal the farmers' cattle. There were retaliatory actions and ultimately the expulsion of the San. "Commandos" allegedly killed and arrested over 3000 San within six years. The organization of these commandos with field commanders and ensigns developed into the system of local government in the Dutch-populated districts of South Africa .

The Dutch colonists also imported labor from Indonesia , Malaysia , Madagascar and Mozambique . The Cape Coloreds , who today make up the largest part of the population of the Western Cape Province, descend from these “guest workers” .

Conflicts with the VOC

The Cape Colony with the Batavian daughter republics Graaff-Reinet (blue) and Swellendam (red) on the eve of the British occupation in 1795
The British Naval Base Simon's Town in 1806
Residence of the first British governor (1806)
Expansion of the Cape Colony around 1809

The VOC was aware that the Netherlands did not have the economic and military resources to defend a large area of ​​the Cape in the event of a conflict. She therefore resorted to measures that were supposed to limit the growth of the Cape Colony, which in the meantime already reached into the Veld . The open immigration policy was ended, trade monopolized and the executive , legislative and judicial branches united in one hand. The farmers were prescribed the crop rotation and they had to give a high percentage of their harvests to the company. In the discontent of the settlers caused by these measures, the origin of the libertarian sentiment can be seen, which was to determine Boer society for generations to come.

In order to evade the restrictions of the VOC, more and more farmers moved to areas outside the colony. To control these Voortrekkers , the company established magistrates in Swellendam (1745) and Graaff-Reinet (1786). The VOC also declared the Gamtoos to be the eastern border of the colony, but this did not prevent the Voortrekkers from crossing the river. In order to avoid conflicts with the Bantu in the Transkei and Kaffraria, which advanced south and west from East and Central Africa after 1600 , the governor Joachim van Plettenberg finally established the Great Fish River as the border of the colony in 1780 . In 1795, the Boers, who were already heavily taxed and received no protection from the VOC against the Bantu, drove the company's officials out of the border districts and established independent republics in Swellendam and Graaff-Reinet.

In 1795 France invaded the Netherlands. British troops under General Sir James Henry Craig then landed in Cape Town to secure the settlement for William V of Orange against the French. After an initial refusal, the governor of Cape Town handed the colony over to the British on September 16, 1795. He was all the more ready for this when the Khoikhoi took advantage of the unstable situation and joined the British. A Dutch attempt at reconquest failed in August 1796 with the surrender in Saldanhabucht . The Graaff-Reinet Boers only surrendered when an army was sent against them and revolted again in 1799 and 1801. In February 1803, the Cape Colony fell - the VOC had been dissolved already in 1798 - after the Peace of Amiens to the Batavian Republic . Many of the reforms already initiated by the British were continued by the British.

1806 to 1848

Transition to the British

In the course of the resurgence of hostilities between Great Britain and Napoleonic France , the British re-occupied the Cape Colony in 1806 to secure their sea trade routes to the Far East, and annexed them on January 8, 1806. A brief French occupation followed from 1810 to 1812. In 1814 the Netherlands finally ceded the colony to Great Britain.

At that time the Cape Colony reached up to the veld , then known as the "Land of the Bushmen ", and covered an area of ​​around 194,000 km² and 60,000 inhabitants, including 27,000 whites, 17,000 free Khoikhoi and 16,000 descendants of former guest workers of various origins, most of them so-called Cape Malays .

First and second border war

In the Zuur veld (English Albany ) between the Sundays River and the Great Fish River there had been clashes between the Xhosa and European settlers in earlier years . After the British took over the Cape Colony, they mistakenly considered Zuurveld to be part of the colony.

By 1811 the Xhosa had reoccupied the area, attacking white settlers. In December 1811, the Zuurveld was then occupied by British troops and Boer commandos under John Graham . Graham pushed the Xhosa back across the Great Fish River and built a series of forts along the river. The city named after him, Grahamstown , was built around his headquarters .

There was a dispute between the British and Xhosa over stolen cattle in 1817. On April 22, Xhosa under Chief Maqana (also called Makhanda - after him, Grahamstown was renamed Makhanda in 2018) attacked the sparsely occupied Grahamstown. However, the British received reinforcements in good time and were able to repel the attack. It was finally agreed to declare the land between the Great Fish River and Keiskamma River to be neutral.

"Settlers of 1820"

These disputes indirectly led to the first great wave of British immigration to the Cape Colony. Since the agreements with the Xhosa proved to be fragile, the Governor of the Cape Colony, Lord Somerset , decided to create a permanent barrier against the Bantu tribes by increasing settlement in the border region. In 1820, on Somerset's suggestion, the British Parliament allocated £ 50,000 to recruit colonists. 4,000 to 5,000 British, called settlers from 1820 , then landed in Port Elizabeth and made Grahamstown their capital.

Initially, this settlement was only intended as a measure to secure the border and was also welcomed by the British government as a job creation measure for several thousand unemployed Britons. However, it had consequences for the sociological structure of the colony that went far beyond the plans of the initiators.

The new settlers who came directly from the British Isles retained a strong loyalty to their mother country and thus formed a permanent counterpart to the Dutch-influenced Boers. The arrival of the immigrants also brought the English language to the Cape. English language ordinances were first published in 1825 and two years later English became the language of the courts. However, Dutch was not displaced, which is why most of the settlers were bilingual .

Dissatisfaction of the Boers with British rule

Although the Cape area prospered under British rule, the Boers' displeasure with the new masters grew. This was partly due to the increased activities of missionaries ( Moravian Mission , London Missionary Society ). The missionaries made the interests of the indigenous population their own. For example, they protested to the British administration against a regulation from 1812 that allowed the Boers to employ local workers under exploitative working conditions.

An incident in 1815/16 caused permanent resentment between the Boers and the British. A Boer refused to comply with a subpoena made after a Khoikhoi complained to him. When he was about to be arrested, he shot the patrol sent out for this purpose and was killed in the subsequent firefight. This led to a Boer rebellion, after which five ringleaders were publicly hanged in Slagters Nek . The circumstances of the execution deepened the rift between the British and Boers. The Boers were supposed to be hung on a gallows at the same time, but the gallows collapsed under their weight. The Boers were then hung individually. The deeply religious Boers saw the collapse of the gallows as a divine judgment and the subsequent execution as a violation of it. In addition, for them it was a violation of the law, according to which the executioner was only allowed to hang a convicted criminal once. For the Boers, this event became the epitome of British lawlessness and arbitrariness.

Furthermore, in 1827 an ordinance replaced the previous Landdrost and Heemraden courts with a jurisdiction modeled on the English resident magistrates . English also became the only court language. In 1828 - not least at the instigation of the missionaries - the free blacks of the Cape Republic were legally equated with the white settlers. In 1830 severe penalties were imposed for the mistreatment of slaves and in 1834 slavery was finally abolished entirely, but this did not improve the social status of the former slaves. They continued to be treated as inferior and exploited by Boers and British.

These measures intensified the estrangement of the Boers from the British and the so far only sporadic emigration of white settlers to areas beyond the colony border increased rapidly (see Great Trek ).

Third border war

The east of the Cape Colony around 1835

Meanwhile, further unrest between Xhosa and the British broke out on the eastern border. In December 1834 murdered command a senior Xhosa chief. As a result, a 10,000-strong Xhosa army crossed the border, looted farms in the east of the colony and murdered the inhabitants. The hardest hit was a colony of free Khoikhoi that had been settled by the British government in the Kat River valley in 1829 . The governor D'Urban immediately dispatched troops and after nine months of fighting, another peace treaty was reached in September 1838, which established the Great Kei River as the eastern border of the colony. In addition, D'Urban took extensive measures to secure the area against further attacks. He came into conflict with the Colonial Minister Lord Glenelg , who revoked D'Urban's orders because he saw the Boers as the originator of the conflict. This led to further resentment among the Boer settlers.

Great trek

In a letter to the king, Glenelg declared that "the great evil of the Cape Colony is its size," and requested that the border be moved back to the Great Fish River. In 1837 he dismissed D'Urban. “The Kaffirs, ” he wrote, “had a clear justification for the war; they had to resist and rightly tried, albeit in vain, to avenge a number of attacks. ”This attitude towards the Xhosa was one of the many reasons the Voortrekkers used to justify their departure from the Cape Colony. In the subsequent Great Trek from 1835 to 1845, around 12,000 trekkers founded republican communities ( Boer republics ) on the other side of the Oranje and Vaal as well as in Natal .

On the other side of the Orange River, the Boers clashed with the Basotho , San and Griqua in the course of the great trek . In order to counteract the Boers' aspirations for autonomy, some of these tribal areas were recognized and supported by the government in Cape Town. The first of these treaty states was Griqualand West . More followed in 1843 and 1844. While it subsequently became quieter on the northern border, the conflicts between Xhosa and settlers continued on the eastern border.

In 1835 the Boers were involved in government through a new legislative assembly, and the colony also made progress in the economic field. An efficient educational system was introduced at the instigation of Sir John Herschel , who lived in the Cape Colony from 1834 to 1838. Agriculture in the western provinces flourished and in addition to wheat, cattle and wine growing, sheep were raised. Wool was the main export item as early as 1846.

"War of the Ax"

Another war with the Xhosa (War of the Ax) broke out in 1846. A Khoikhoi escort was murdered by the Xhosa while attempting to lead a handcuffed Xhosa thief to Grahamstown, where he was to be convicted of stealing an ax. The extradition of the murderer was refused and Ngqika - and Tambukies - Xhosa declared war in March 1846. General Somerset defeated the Xhosa on June 7th at Gwangu , a few miles from Fort Peddie. The war continued, however, until Sandile (also Sandili), the chief of the Ngqika (Gaika), surrendered. Other chiefs followed suit, and by early 1848, after 21 months of fighting, the Xhosa were completely subdued.

1848 to 1880

Expansion of British rule

Sir Harry Smith

In late 1847, Sir Harry Smith became governor of the Cape Colony. He soon revised Glenelg's policy. In a resolution dated December 17, 1847, he extended the colony's borders north to the Orange River and east to the Keiskamma River. At a meeting with Xhosa chiefs on December 23, he announced the annexation of the land between the Keiskamma and Great Kei River and thus re-took possession of the land abandoned by Lord Glenelg. However, the area did not initially fall under the Cape Colony, but was annexed as the British Kaffraria Colony . It became a crown colony in 1860 and finally part of the Cape Colony in 1866.

The Xhosa initially accepted the new government, especially since the governor subsequently left them unmolested. He was more concerned with maintaining British authority over the Boers across the Orange. In the meantime the Cape Colony had expanded and in 1848 the area between Vaal and Oranje was declared British territory. However, the British encountered strong resistance from the Boers who settled here. Since the area was economically uninteresting for them anyway, they soon gave up the so-called Orange River Sovereignty . On February 23, 1854, the Treaty of Bloemfontein was signed, which led to the establishment of the Orange Free State.

"Prisoner Uprising" and the granting of a constitution

In 1848 Henry Gray became Minister of Colonial Affairs. He was against the expansion of British territories in South Africa because he feared the cost and burden of the British national budget and felt it would be more correct to confine himself to the Cape Colony. He also endeavored to impose administrative and defense expenses on the colonialists themselves. In return, the colonies were to be granted extended independence.

In 1848 he asked the governors of all British colonies whether they were willing to accept prisoners. He wanted to send Irish farmers who had committed delinquencies during the famine in Ireland to the colonies.

Due to a misunderstanding, the Neptune reached the Cape Colony with 289 prisoners on board, even before the colonists' opinion had been obtained. The colonists rejected the plan, however, and when the news of the imminent arrival of the ship reached the cape, they formed an "anti-prisoner association," whose members pledged not to do anything that in any way meant the "arrival, supply." or employment of prisoners ”. When the Neptune entered Simon's Bay on September 19, 1849 , the prisoners therefore had to stay on board for five months until the Neptune was finally sent on to Tasmania .

The unrest subsequently led to a political movement that demanded a free and representative government for the Cape area. Smith's successor, George Cathcart , introduced a liberal constitution in 1854, as previously promised by Gray.

Eighth Border War (1850-1853)

The anti-prisoner movement was barely over when war broke out again. The Xhosa tribe of the Ngqika under its chief Sandile increasingly rebelled against the loss of their independence. When Governor Smith learned of the unrest in the border region, he called Sandile and other chiefs to meet. Sandile stayed away from the meeting and was therefore deposed as chief of the Ngqika in October 1850 and replaced by a British official. Smith, who wanted to prevent another war, also issued the order to arrest Sandile. To this end, a small force was sent under Colonel George Mackinnon. This was attacked on December 24, 1850 by superior Xhosa forces and was forced to retreat after losing some men. This skirmish signaled a general uprising across the Ngqika tribe. The military settlements in the border area were overrun in a surprise attack on Christmas Eve 1850, many of the European settlers were captured or killed. Large parts of the Xhosa police deserted. Governor Smith was trapped by insurgents in Fort Cox , but was able to break out to King William's Town with 150 cavalrymen under Colonel Mackinnon.

Around 900 Khoikhoi from the Kat River, allies of the British in earlier wars - the Cape Mounted Rifles consisted largely of Khoikhoi - now joined their former Xhosa opponents. Annoyed by unfair treatment by the colonial rulers, they formed a secret alliance with the Xhosa to expel the Europeans by force of arms and establish a Khoikhoi republic. Two weeks after the attack on Colonel Mackinnon, the Kat River – Khoikhoi rose. Other Khoikhoi followed suit. Parts of the Cape Mounted Riflemen also rose, including soldiers who shortly before had led Governor Smith out of Fort Cox. However, many Khoikhoi remained loyal and the Mfengu also remained loyal to the British.

After their surprise subsided, the British counterattacked. They invaded the Amathole Mountains to get Sandiles. In April 1852, Henry Gray called off the attack. He accused Sir Harry Smith of lack of energy and judgment in warfare and replaced him with Cathcart. Sandile was attacked again and subjugated. The Xhosa were driven from the Amathole area and prevented from returning there by newly built small forts.

British warfare was constantly hampered by insufficient equipment, which is why the Xhosa uprising was not put down until March 1853, after the loss of several hundred British soldiers. Shortly thereafter, British Kaffraria was declared a crown colony . The Khoikhoi settlement on the Kat River remained, but the Khoikhoi resistance to the colony was broken.

Xhosa cattle killing

The Xhosa had not accepted their 1853 defeat as decisive and were preparing for further resistance against the Europeans. However, their efforts were rendered pointless by a famine in 1857.

That year, based on a prophecy, the Xhosa killed all their livestock and destroyed their crops. 50,000 Xhosa died of starvation and many others left their tribal areas in search of food. The number of the Xhosa fell from 105,000 in 1857 to 26,000 in 1858. The depopulated land was subsequently replenished with European settlers, including members of the German Legion of the British Army that had served in the Crimean War and around 2,000 North German emigrants.

The famine meant the temporary end of the border conflict between Cape Colony and Xhosa.

Under George Grey's government

Sir George Gray

In 1854 Sir George Gray became governor of the Cape Colony. It was contrary to the official policy of London not to exercise any power over the areas north of the Orange. As an alternative, he presented the idea of ​​a confederation of all British-ruled areas of South Africa as early as 1858. However, the proposal was initially rejected by Great Britain.

He had a road built through Bechuanaland and was the first to attempt (apart from the missionaries) to teach the Xhosa and to establish stable British administrative structures among them. Due to the previous famine among the Xhosa, the latter was relatively easy for him. The Bantu across the Great Kei River initially remained unmolested.

Sir George Gray left the Cape in 1861. During his reign, the economic power of the Cape area had grown significantly through the opening of the copper mines in Little Namaqualand , the introduction of the mohair wool industry and the establishment of an independent colony in Natal . The construction of the railway line from Cape Town to Wellington in 1863 and the expansion of the port in Table Bay in 1860 marked the beginning of the large-scale expansion of the colony's infrastructure. They were more or less the result of the extensive autonomy previously granted to the Cape Province.

British Kaffraria became part of the colony in 1865 as the Electoral Divisions of King William's Town and East London . This went hand in hand with the lifting of the ban on selling alcohol to the Bantu. The subsequent free trade in alcohol had dire consequences for the Xhosa. A severe drought led to a severe economic depression from which many farmers suffered severely. During this time, ostrich breeding was successfully introduced as an independent economic factor.

Crown colony (pink) and protectorate (pink border) Bechuanaland 1887

Meanwhile, the limits of British authority continued to widen. The Basotho , who lived in the upper valleys of the Orange River, had been under British semi- protectorate from 1843 to 1854 . After they had been pushed back into their heartland Basutoland by the loss of pastureland in the Orange Free State , there were long-lasting conflicts with the Boers of the Orange Free State. At the request of their chief Moshoeshoe I , they were declared British subjects in 1868 and Basutoland became part of the Cape in 1871. In the same year the south-eastern part of Bechuanaland was annexed by Great Britain under the name Griqualand West . Officially, this was done as a British safeguard against raids by Boer settlers. The background to the British decision was the changing geostrategic situation in the region and the discovery of mineral resources such as gold and diamonds . Bechuanaland itself was declared a protectorate in 1885.

The 4th Earl of Carnarvon
Portrait of Bartle Frere

When diamond mining began, the Cape Colony and its neighboring areas suffered from poor economic conditions. Ostrich farming was just beginning and agriculture hardly developed. The Boers lived outside of Cape Town under simple circumstances. They only traded durable goods with the colony to a limited extent. Even the British colonialists were far from wealthy. Diamond mining therefore seemed very attractive, especially for the colonists of British origin. It was also a way of showing that the region of southern Africa, which appeared bare and poor on the surface, was rich underground. It took 40,000 square meters in the Karoo to feed a sheep, but now a few square meters of diamond-rich soil may be enough to support a dozen families. At the end of 1871 the diamond fields were already densely populated and immigration increased dramatically. One of the most important people who sought their fortune in the diamond fields was Cecil Rhodes .

Sir George Grey's plan for an alliance of all South African colonies had been rejected by the home authorities in 1858. That changed now. In the meantime, the British side favored the idea of ​​uniting their own colonies and the Boer republics, above all in order to gain possession of the gold mines in the Transvaal. Henry Herbert, 4th Earl of Carnarvon , Secretary of State for the Colonies, turned his attention to an alliance with the British Colony after successfully federating Canada . He was planning something similar in South Africa. The representative government in the Cape Colony was replaced by a "responsible government" in 1872 and the new parliament in Cape Town resented the way in which Lord Carnarvon presented his proposals. A resolution of June 11, 1875 determined that any plan for a confederation must come from South Africa itself. Lord Carnarvon commissioned the respected historian James Anthony Froude to continue his politics in South Africa. However, the public thought he was a diplomat and representative of the British government and his attempt to get the colonialists excited about Lord Carnarvon's plans failed. In 1876, Fingoland, the Idutywa Reserve and other tracts of land along the Xhosa area were annexed to Great Britain with the agreement that the Cape Government would be responsible for them. Lord Carnarvon, still sticking to his plans, now appointed Sir Henry Bartle Frere as Governor of the Cape Colony and High Commissioner of South Africa.

Immediately after taking office as High Commissioner, Frere faced serious unrest in KwaZulu and on the border with the Xhosa area. In 1877 there was a rebellion between the Galeka (Gcaleka) and Ngqika, which was suppressed with a large number of imperial and colonial troops, which is why the conflict went down in history as the Ninth Border War. The Xhosa chief Sarhili was killed in this war. After the end of the war, the Transkei territory of the Gcaleka, formerly ruled by Sarhili, was annexed by the British.

Lord Carnarvon meanwhile resigned from his post in the British Cabinet and gave up his plans for an alliance. Little did Carnarvon realize at the time that the Cape Colony was too preoccupied with such disputes to think of something like an alliance. Dissatisfaction spread among the various Xhosa tribes along the colonial border and there was another uprising in Basutoland led by Moorosi. The Xhosa were defeated after heavy fighting, while the Basotho remained restless and combative for several years. In 1880 the colonial authorities tried to extend the Peace Preservation Act of 1878 to Basutoland and thus disarm the inhabitants. The announcement was followed by the Gun War , which had no definite end, although peace was declared in December 1882. The Imperial Government took over Basutoland as a Crown Colony and the Cape Colony was to pay £ 18,000 annually for administrative purposes. Those in charge of the Cape Colony were happy to be freed from direct administration of the Transkei in 1884 , which had already cost them more than three million pounds.

Sir Henry Bartle Frere, who had won the esteem and attention of loyal South African colonialists with his energetic and statesmanlike attitude to relations with the "native" states, was appointed in 1880 by the first John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley , the Liberal Secretary of State for the Colonies, recalled. He was followed by Sir Hercules Robinson . Griqualand West, in which most of the diamond fields were located, was integrated into the Cape Colony and thus effectively expropriated its natural resources.

1880 to 1899

Foundation of the "Afrikanderbond"

When diamonds were found at Kimberley in 1869 and gold at Witwatersrand in 1886, UK interest in these areas immediately increased. The Boers, however, insisted on their independence and territorial integrity. Armed clashes broke out. The end of the First Boer War of 1881, which was followed by the independence of the Transvaal, had an impact on all of South Africa. One of the most important results was the first Afrikanderbond Congress, which took place in Graaff-Reinet in 1882 . The federal government comprised the Transvaal, the Orange Free State and the Cape area. Each country was represented by a provincial committee with district committees and branched out in South Africa. The federation later separated from the republican branches in the Cape. The federal policy is summarized in an excerpt from De Patriot , a newspaper published in the colony that supports the federal government:

  • “The Afrikanderbond serves to establish a South African nationality by spreading love for our true fatherland. There could be no better time to form the Bond than the present, when awareness of nationality has been greatly increased by the Transvaal War. [...] The British government continues to speak of an alliance under the British flag, but that will never exist. You can be pretty sure of that. There is only one obstacle to an alliance and that is the British flag. Let them remove them and in less than a year an alliance would be created under the free African flag. "
  • “After a while the English will find that the proposal they received from Froude is the best - they just have to have Simon's Bay as a port and military base on the way to India and hand over the rest of South Africa to the Africans. [...] Our most important weapon in the social war must be the destruction of English trade by building up our own trading companies. […] Every true African is obliged not to associate with the English more than necessary. ”( De Patriot , 1882)

In addition to the press organs, the federal government published official statements from time to time. Some of the articles in the original federal manifesto are considered completely neutral, e.g. B. those about the administration of justice, respect for the dignity of people etc. These conclusions were, however, in the opinion of the British colonial authorities of the Cape area meaningless, since Article 3 of the Manifesto granted South Africa complete independence (Zelfstandieheid) , which for the British military regime "treason" was at the British Crown.

While the Bund established an attitude of freedom and independence among some residents, it ensured loyalty and British patriotism among collaborators with the British colonial power, who feared for their share of South Africa's mineral resources. A pamphlet written in 1885 for a covenant group called the Empire League said:

  1. that the establishment of the English government here was a boon for all classes and
  2. that the withdrawal of this government would be devastating for anyone with personal interests in the colony ... England can and will never give up this colony and we colonialists will never give up England. Let us, the inhabitants of the Cape Colony, quickly realize that we are one people, gathered under the glorious flag of freedom, with clear heads to appreciate the freedom we are allowed to enjoy and hearts resolute enough to to receive our true privileges; Let us stop censuring and insulting each other and remembering this good country that we have as a common heritage, that only by joining forces can we realize its great possibilities. We are both part of a home loving group and it is about the peace and prosperity of every home in the country. It depends on our activity whether our children will curse and bless us, whether we will live in their memory as promoters of the civil war with all its miserable consequences, or as united architects of a happy, prosperous and united state. Each of us has a noble past. United we can secure a dignified future for our descendants. Separately, we can only hope for stagnation, misery and ruin. Is this an easy decision?

Many Britons likely viewed the Empire League Manifesto as overly alarming. From 1881 two rival ideas emerged that strongly contradicted each other. One was imperialism , which restricted full civil rights to every “civilized” person regardless of race and placed them under the rule and protection of Great Britain, including its decision as to who should be regarded as “civilized”. The other was deeply Republican , but tailored exclusively to Boers and their rights in South Africa. The anti-imperialist policy of the Boers was summed up in the appeal of President Paul Kruger , who asked the Free State in February 1881: “Come and help us. God is with us. It is his will to unite us as one people ... to build a united South Africa free of British authority. ”Once again the British failed because of democratic principles of equality, as they were already in the American Revolution with the slogan:“ One man, one vote ”because it threatened to undermine their imperialist greed.

The actual founders of the Bond party in the Orange Free State were the German Borckenhagen, who lived in Bloemfontein , and the Afrikaaner Reitz, who later became State Secretary of the Transvaal. Two documented conversations show the real goals of the Bond founders from the start. One led Borckenhagen with Cecil Rhodes, the other took place between Reitz and T. Schreiner, whose brother later became Prime Minister of the British Cape Colony. In the first conversation Borckenhagen said to Rhodes: "We want a united Africa" ​​and Rhodes replied: "Me too". Borckenhagen continued: “Nothing stands in the way; we choose you as our leader. There's only one small thing: we have to be independent from the rest of the world, of course. "Rhodes replied," You think I'm either a villain or a fool. I would be a villain if I lost my whole history and tradition, or a fool if I was hated by my own compatriots and viewed with suspicion by theirs. "But as Rhodes said in Cape Town in 1898:" The only chance for a real union is the overshadowing protection of a higher power and any German, French or Russian would tell you that the best and most liberal power is that of Her Majesty. ”The other conversation took place shortly after the establishment of the Bond. Schreiner denied Reitz's allegation that the Bond was aiming to overthrow British rule and remove the Union Jack from South Africa. Reitz replied: “What if it were so?” Schreiner protested: “You do not assume that this flag will disappear without significant unrest and hard fighting?” Reitz asked what was wrong with it. In view of these testimonies relating to two of the most prominent representatives of the Bond, it is clear that the basic idea of ​​the Bond was from the beginning an independent South Africa. Cecil Rhodes' remarks, in turn, make it clear that Great Britain would not do without South Africa's raw materials, and thus the economic development basis of the entire South African region.

Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr

The Cape Colony Parliament passed an ordinance in 1882 that allowed members to speak Afrikaans . The intent of this regulation was liberal, but the timing was provocative for the British and so it stimulated the Bond's plans. It also enabled some Boers to be elected to parliament, which gave the Boer leaders greater influence. They couldn't speak English and would not have been elected if they had to speak English. As convinced democrats, they relied on the political will of everyone and less on the visit to Oxford / Cambridge.

At that time Jan Hendrik Hofmeyr was the chairman of the Afrikanderbond in the Cape Colony and the Boer opinion leader. Although recognized as the leader of the Boer Party, he stubbornly refused to take over the government, preferring to remotely control the police and other activities. Hofmeyr was a representative for Stellenbosch , a strong Boer constituency, in parliament. His influence on the Boer members was very pronounced and he supported the settlement policy of President Kruger and the Transvaal Boers.

During a debate on the separation of Basutoland, Rhodes openly commissioned Hofmeyr in Parliament with the wish to found the "United States of South Africa under its own flag". This was an open affront from Rhodes, who knew exactly what the Boers wanted to have their own state and also their refusal to integrate the Bantu settlement areas between the Drakensberg and the coast to the Indian Ocean into a common state. In 1884 Hofmeyr led the Bond with strong support for the Transvaal Boers who had invaded Bechuanaland and announced that, regardless of the conventions of 1881 and 1884, there would be a rebellion among the Boers of the Cape Colony if the settlers of Bechuanaland took over the cultivated land not allowed to keep. Sir Charles Warren, sent from London to safeguard the interests of British imperialism, persuaded the Boers to withdraw from Stellaland and Goshen , two republics disrupted by the invading Boers in 1885. Nevertheless, the Bond party was so strong in parliament that it forced the ministry under Sir Thomas Scanlen to give up in 1884.

Under these circumstances, the British expected Hofmeyr to accept his mandate and form a government himself. However, he refused, knowing full well that as head of government of the Cape area he would have to submit to the decisions of London. So he gave his support to someone who would be totally dependent on him. The chosen Irish barrister Thomas Upington established the ministry known as the "hot pan" in 1884. Many British colonists, who retained sufficient loyalty to the United Kingdom because they only wanted to get rich in South Africa, denounced this political act to Great Britain, citing the constitution transferred from the British to the Cape Colony, as they were the man who really did the political Wielded power, wanted to see the responsible leader of the party. Hofmeyr's rejection of this responsibility and the nature of Bond politics earned him the nickname "the mole". The British and British colonists would have accepted and welcomed an open and responsible exercise of power, because in this way they would have elegantly got rid of their fiercest opponents. But the Boer policy, most pronounced in Pretoria , was rejected by the colonists loyal to Britain, because under it they would not have been able to export gold or diamonds from South Africa on a private basis.

Hofmeyr determined how Boers were to vote from 1881 to 1898 and also directed the policy behind the Bond throughout its history. He gave up his seat in the British-patronized Parliament in 1895. Other well-known politicians were also increasingly aligning their views with the Bond after falling out with the UK.

Rhodes and the Dutch mood

Cecil Rhodes recognized the problems of his position and from the beginning of his political career showed a desire to calm the Dutch mood through prudent action. He was first elected as Member of Parliament for Barkly West in 1880 by a loyal electorate. He supported the Dutch language ordinance of 1882 and was appointed treasurer under Sir Thomas Scanlen in early 1884. Rhodes had only been in that position six months when Scanlen resigned. Sir Hercules Robinson sent him to British Bechuanaland as Deputy Chief of Police in August 1884 . There he succeeded Reverend John Mackenzie, the representative of the London Missionary Society in Kuruman , who in May 1883 proclaimed Queen Victoria's authority over the area. When Rhodes' peace efforts with the Boers failed, Warren's mission became necessary. In 1885 the Cape Colony expanded with the incorporation of Tembuland, Bomvanaland and Galekaland. In 1886 Sir Gordon Sprigg became Prime Minister.

South African Customs Union

There was considerable unrest in the Cape Colony between 1878 and 1885. During this short period of time, the Gun War broke out with the Basotho, who demanded that the Cape Colony return them to the imperial authorities, as well as a series of incidents with local residents, which was followed by the First Boer War of 1881 and the Unrest in Bechuanaland in 1884. Despite the setbacks, the country continued to develop. The diamond industry flourished. A conference held in London in 1887 called for "closer union of the various parts of the British Empire through an imperial tariff ". At this conference Hofmeyr presented a kind of " Zollverein ", in which the imperial tariffs are levied independently of all payments for goods that came into the Empire from outside. His goal is to "advance the unification of the Empire and at the same time to receive income for purposes of general defense". The scheme was rejected as inappropriate, but the choice of words and the feelings that accompanied it made Hofmeyr appear in a favorable light.

Although the statesmen and high commissioners had failed to create a political confederation, the members of the Cape Parliament established a South African customs union in 1888. A corresponding ordinance was approved by parliament and ensured considerable progress on the way to becoming a federal government. A short time later, the Orange Free State joined the Union. Several attempts were also made to persuade the Transvaal to join, but his own policy, President Kruger hoped to make the South African Republic entirely independent of the Cape Colony through the Delagoa Bay Railway. The plan of a customs union with the Transvaal did not please Kruger's Dutch advisors either, as they were employed by the Netherlands Railway Company, which owned the Transvaal railway.

Diamonds, gold and railroad

Alfred Beit 1905

Another event of considerable economic importance for the Cape Colony and all of South Africa was the amalgamation of the diamond mining companies to form De Beers , which was essentially realized by Cecil Rhodes, Alfred Beit , Charles Rudd and Barney Barnato in 1889. It took place under private law. One of the most important consequences of the exploitation of diamond and gold mines was the rapid expansion of the railroad . British railway imperialism immediately secured the prospecting areas with this infrastructure in order to be able to be present with its troops as quickly as possible. Kimberley was reached in 1885. In 1890 the line was extended in a northerly direction on the western border from the Transvaal to Vryburg in British Bechuanaland. In 1889, the Free State agreed with the Cape Colony that the main line would be extended to Bloemfontein and that the Free State would receive half of the income. The Free State then bought the routes on its territory at cost price. In 1891 the railway reached Viljoen's Drift am Vaal and a year later Pretoria and Johannesburg .

1899 to 1910

Rhodes as Prime Minister

Cecil Rhodes

In 1889, Sir Henry Loch was appointed High Commissioner and Governor of the Cape Colony to succeed Sir Hercules Robinson. When Sir Gordon Sprigg, the colony's prime minister, resigned in 1890, a government under Rhodes was formed. Hofmeyr Rhodes had previously offered Rhodes a position as a representative of the Bond party. After the fall of the Sprigg Ministry, however, Rhodes arranged a meeting with the Bond leaders to discuss the situation. His policy of the customs and railroad union enabled him, together with the recognition by the Boers, to lead the government successfully.

The colonies of British Bechuanaland and Basutoland now joined the customs union. Pondoland , another Bantu territory, was added in 1894. The law dealt with Bantu who lived on certain reservations. It allowed them to take care of some of their concerns themselves, so according to British understanding it granted them privileges and required them, most of whom had no monetary income, to pay an employment tax. From a British point of view, this was "the most statesmanlike law" passed with regard to the Bantu. At a session of parliament in 1895, Rhodes announced that the law would be applied to 160,000 Bantu. The unused labor clauses were repealed in 1905. They still had an effect because thousands of Bantu were completing their work requirements to be exempt from labor tax.

Rhodes' policies were characterized by a mixture of arbitrariness and cynicism. The Bantu have enjoyed the right to vote since they were granted self-government . An 1892 law, at Rhodes' insistence, introduced an education test for those who wanted to register for the election, and put some additional restrictions on native voters for fear of jeopardizing the current system of government.

Rhodes defied the smuggling of spirits and stifled him in the diamond mines completely, although he so few supporters among the Brandy angry -Produzenten the western provinces. He also restricted it as much as possible in the reservations and territories of the Bantu. Nevertheless, smuggling continued on colonial farms and some Bantu and San areas. The Khoikhoi were particularly fond of the drink because they, the real masters of the country up to the Zambezi , were almost completely demoralized by the military defeats against the British.

Rhodes increasingly enforced British law. Only when conflicts with tribal law threatened to degenerate into open rebellion did he give in. After the territories east of the Kei River became part of the Cape Colony, a dispute over the law of inheritance arose in court . Under the laws of the colony, the court ruled that the eldest son of a Khoikhoi was his heir . However, the Khoikhoi protested violently against this decision, because according to their tribal law, the great son or the son of the chief's wife is considered an inheritance. The government faced further rebellion when Rhodes telegraphed compensation and promised that there would be no more such decision. His promise was accepted and calm was restored. But British law was again arbitrary. Rhodes pulled out of the affair. At the end of the next parliamentary session after this incident, Rhodes tabled the shortest bill in history. It stated that all civil cases must be tried by magistrates and inquiries can be made to the magistrate with an assessor . Criminal cases must be heard by judges in the district's Supreme Court . As a result of the new law, if the magistrates judged according to native law, wedding customs and laws, including polygamy , were legalized in the colony.

Sir Hercules Robinson was reappointed Governor and High Commissioner of South Africa in 1895 to succeed Sir Henry Loch. That same year, Mr. Chamberlain became Secretary of State for the Colonies.

Movement towards economic federation

With the development of the railroad and increasing trade between the Cape Colony and the Transvaal, politicians on both sides began to debate a closer relationship. In his capacity as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, Rhodes sought the friendly gesture of an economic federation between the states and colonies of South Africa through the means of a customs union. He hoped for an economic and railway union, as a speech in Cape Town in 1894 shows:

“With a love for the flag I was born under and represent, I can understand the feelings of a Republican who created his independence and who values ​​it more than anything else; but I can say that in the future I can link the system with which I am connected to the Cape Colony, and that it is not impossible for the neighboring republics, while maintaining their independence, to share with us some basic principles. More specifically, I mean the principles of tariff, rail connection, legal entitlements, minting, and all the principles that currently exist in the United States, regardless of the local parliaments in each state in that country. "

President Kruger and the Transvaal government opposed this policy at every opportunity. Your actions on the Vaal River Drift best illustrate the plan pursued by the Transvaal government. Some disputes arose over the dissolution of the 1894 agreement between the Cape Government Railways and the Dutch Railways. The Cape Government had advanced a sum of £ 600,000 to the Dutch Railways and the Transvaal Government to extend the rail line from Vaal to Johannesburg . At the same time, the Cape government had secured the right to set the traffic rate until the end of 1894 or until the Delogoa Bay - Pretoria route was completed .

The Cape government had the traffic rate on 2d. per ton per mile, but in early 1895 the Dutch Railways increased the rate to 8d for the 52 miles from Vaal to Johannesburg. per ton per mile. It can be seen from Kruger's subsequent actions that these changes were based on his consent to force Transvaal traffic from the colonial route onto the Delagoa route. To compensate for the very high rate, traders from Johannesburg began to transport their goods across the Vaal in wagons. In response, Kruger closed the drifts or fords of the Vaal to prevent traffic. This resulted in an enormous block of wagons on the banks of the Vaal. The Cape Government protested the Transvaal's actions several times because they violated the London Convention .

Kruger was not intimidated by the protests and made an appeal to the imperial government, which agreed with the Cape government that a protest would be sent to Kruger if the Cape Colony pays half the cost of any necessary expedition and helps with troops and make the railroad available for military purposes if necessary. Rhodes and his colleagues, including WP Schreiner, accepted the terms and Chamberlain sent a protest stating that the government regards the closure of the Drifts as a violation of the London Convention and demands a serious response for this unkind action. Kruger immediately reopened the drifts and announced that he would no longer give such instructions without consulting the Imperial government.

Leander Starr Jameson attacked the Transvaal on December 29, 1895 ( Jameson Raid ) and Rhodes had to give up his post of Prime Minister of the Cape Colony in January 1896 due to his complicity. Sir Gordon Sprigg took over the vacant post. When Rhodes' complicity became known, his colleagues at the Ministry, unaware of the connections, reacted with bitterness and astonishment. The Bond and Hofmeyr criticized him particularly clearly and the Dutch were even more bitter against the British in the Cape Colony, which influenced their future attitude towards the Transvaal Boers.

In 1897 there was another uprising under the Bantu chief Galeshwe in Griqualand West , which ended with the arrest of the chief. During interrogation, Galeshwe said that the Transvaal Magistrate Bosman had supplied him with ammunition and encouraged rebellions against the Cape Colony government. There was sufficient evidence to support this statement, which was consistent with the methods the Boers sometimes used among the locals.

Sir Alfred Milner succeeded Sir Hercules Robinson in 1897 as High Commissioner for South Africa and Governor of the Cape Colony. Robinson became a peer under Baron Rosmead in August 1896 .

Schreiner's policy

With Natal joining the Customs Union, the economic federation reached another state. At that time a new convention was being drawn up; this created a "uniform tariff for all imported goods that are consumed within such a union, as well as an even distribution of the taxes levied on such goods by the parties of the union, and free trade between the colonies and the state in relation to all South African products ”. In the same year another parliamentary election took place at the Cape, which created another Bond Ministry under WP Schreiner. Schreiner remained chairman of the Cape government until June 1900.

During the negotiations that preceded the outbreak of the Second Boer War in 1899, heated arguments broke out. As chairman of a party that was part of the Bond because of its support, Schreiner had to balance different influences. However, as prime minister of a British colony, loyal colonialists believe that he should hold himself back from the affairs of the Transvaal government and the imperial government. In his public statements, he was hostile to the policies pursued by Chamberlain and Sir Alfred Milner. Schreiner's hostility is said to have reinforced Kruger's rejection of the British proposals. In his private life he tried everything possible to induce the President to act “sensibly”, but his public rejection of Chamberlain policies, despite his good intentions, harmed him more than his private influence helped.

Schreiner instructed the High Commissioner on June 11, 1899 to inform Chamberlain that he and his colleagues had decided to accept Kruger's Bloemfontein proposals as a "practical, sensible and considerable step in the right direction." However, later in June Dutch politicians in the Cape realized that Kruger's attitude was not as sensible as expected, and Hofmeyer visited Pretoria with Mr. Herholt, the Cape Colony's Minister of Agriculture. After their arrival they found the “ Volksraad ” of the Transvaal in a defiant mood. Parliament had just passed a resolution creating four new seats in the Volksraad for the mining districts and fifteen exclusive Burgher districts. Hofmeyr openly expressed his dissatisfaction with these events at a meeting with the executive. Hofmeyr's influence, however, was outdone by an Orange Free State ambassador named Abraham Fischer , who, while pretending to be a peacemaker, was in fact encouraging the Boers to take extreme action.

Hofmeyr's reputation as a shrewd diplomat and leader of the Dutch party made him a powerful delegate. If there was anyone who could convince Kruger to change his plan, it was Hofmeyr. The moderate representatives of all parties looked expectantly at Hofmeyr, but none as much as Schreiner. However, Hofmeyr's mission with regard to Kruger, like all other attempts, proved sterile. He returned to Cape Town disappointed but not really surprised by his failure. The Boer executive, meanwhile, asked Schreiner to write a letter to the South African News on July 7th, in which he said with reference to his own government: “Concerned and always active with the hope of sensible changes to the existing representative System of the South African Republic, this government is convinced that there is no reason for active interference in the internal affairs of this republic. "

The letter turned out to be hasty and unhappy. On July 11th, after meeting Hofmeyr, Schreiner personally appealed to Kruger to approach the Imperial government with a peaceful disposition. Another event at the same time created a hostile mood in the public against carpenter. On July 7, 500 rifles and 1,000,000 units of ammunition were delivered to Port Elizabeth , handed over to the government of the Free State and taken to Bloemfontein. The handover was reported to Schreiner, who did not consider it necessary to stop it. He justified his decision by stating that he had no right to stop arms shipments in the Cape Colony since Britain made peace with the Free State. However, his inaction earned him the nickname "Ammunition Bill" among British colonialists. He was later charged with delaying the advance of artillery and rifles in defense of Kimberley , Mafeking and other towns in the colony. He apologized by saying that he had not foreseen the war and did not want to arouse unjustified suspicions in the government of the Free State. His behavior in both cases was perhaps technically correct, but angered the loyal colonialists.

Chamberlain sent a conciliatory message to Kruger on July 28, offering a meeting of delegates to discuss the latest proposals. On August 3, Schreiner asked Fischer by wire that the Transvaal should accept Chamberlain's proposal. After a request from the Free State about the movement of British troops, Schreiner refused to release information and referred the Free State to the High Commissioner. On August 28, the adjournment in Parliament led Sir Gordon Sprigg to discuss disarming the Free State. Schreiner then moved the greatest possible reprimand for Sprigg, both in the colony and in Great Britain. In the event of unrest, Sprigg would keep the colony aloof in terms of its military and people. In the course of his speech he read out a telegram from President Steyn in which the President rejected any aggressive action in the Free State as absurd. The speech caused a scandal in the British press.

From Schreiner's behavior in the second half of 1899 it is quite clear that he was completely wrong in his view of the situation in the Transvaal. He showed the same inability to understand the Uitlanders' concerns , the same vain belief in the eventual fairness of President Kruger as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony as he did when he testified before the British South Africa Select Committee on the Jameson Raid. It should have been clear to him that President Kruger's appeals to reason were sterile and that President Steyn's protests were insincere.

Second Boer War (1899–1902)

The first shot of the war was fired at Kraipan, a small railroad station within the colony 40 miles south of Mafeking , as a result of which a train derailed and ammunition intended for Colonel Baden-Powell was captured. Mafeking, the northernmost town in the Cape Colony, was isolated and remained under siege for more than seven months. On October 16, Kimberley was also isolated . On October 18, the Transvaal and the Orange Free State claimed parts of the Cape Colony, including British Bechuanaland and Griqualand West with the diamond fields. On October 28, 1899, Schreiner signed a proclamation issued by Sir Alfred Milner as High Commissioner , which declared the Boers' territorial claims null and void.

British counter-attacks in Stormberg and Magersfontein took place on December 10th and 11th . These activities right at the start of the war gave the colonial Boers at the front an opportunity to join their relatives from the Republicans. Most Boers had large families. Many younger sons from the colony, with nothing to lose, left their homeland with horse and rifle to join the Republican armed forces.

In the meantime, loyal colonialists on the Cape rubbed against the fact that they were belatedly signed by the imperial authorities. It was only after Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener's arrival in Cape Town on January 10, 1900, that these invaluable and experienced men could emerge. So preoccupied with the matter was Lord Roberts that he immediately appointed Colonel Brabant, a well-known and respected colonial veteran and MP, brigadier general and began recruiting loyal colonialists. On February 15, General French liberated Kimberley, while the Boer General Cronjé evacuated Magersfontein and retreated to Bloemfontein . Cecil Rhodes was trapped in Kimberley throughout the siege and his presence was an added incentive for the Boers to take the city. His prominent position and his influence on de Beers workers enabled him to serve the Yeoman, which gave the residents enthusiasm and courage. The construction of a large cannon that could compete with the Boers '"Long Tom" in the workshops of de Beers under Rhodes' command and with the ingenuity of the American Labram, who was killed a few days after its completion, is one of the most significant events of this time .

With the liberation of Mafeking on May 17, 1900, the rebellion at the Cape ended and the colony was at least temporarily free from enemy forces.

On March 20, 1900, the future Sir James Rose-Innes, a prominent member of parliament who had stayed away from all parties for several years and defended Schreiner's actions in relation to arms delivery to the Free State, campaigned among his constituents in Claremont for the annexation of both Republics and in an eloquent speech he remarked that despite some rebellions, loyalty in Canada had been secured by the French Canadians through free institutions. In South Africa, a similar policy could lead to similar results with the Boers. In June, Schreiner, whose support for Sir Alfred Milner had angered many of his fellow activists in Bond, resigned after his draft law on disenfranchisement, which he wanted to introduce in coordination with the home government to punish the Cape rebels, found no support . The sentence was certainly reasonable, but the general disenfranchisement appealed to the Bond extremists less than the severity of individuals. Sir Gordon Sprigg, who succeeded Schreiner and thus Prime Minister for the fourth time after a considerable political crisis, was finally able to enforce the law in cooperation with Schreiner.

At the end of 1900 the war entered a new phase in the form of guerrilla clashes with isolated Boer forces. In December, some of these gangs invaded the Cape Colony and tried to win over colonial Boers. The efforts were initially unsuccessful, but when the Boers still had various districts under control in 1901, the authorities saw the need to proclaim martial law in the entire colony, which happened on October 9, 1901.

Although the Boer states still had active governments and their armies were unbeaten in the field, the Free State and later also the Transvaal were declared British crown colonies. From now on, the Boer Commands were considered rebel gangs; even more: the civilian population was made responsible for their acts of war. Wherever a telegraph was destroyed or a British Army log cabin was blown up, Lord Roberts and Kitchener had neighboring farms robbed and set on fire. The residents of these homesteads - women, children and old people unable to fight - were sent to concentration camps "for their own protection" . The same happened to the relatives of the Boers who refused to take the oath of neutrality (which, incidentally, did not protect them, as one should have assumed, from deportation to St. Helena or Ceylon ). But all these brutalities only doubled the Boers' will to assert themselves. Only now did they understand that the British were not interested in a military-political victory, but in the complete extermination of the Dutch population of South Africa and the destruction of their sources of life.

On January 4, 1901, Sir Alfred Milner was appointed governor of the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony , and a little later as Lord Milner, a peer . Sir Walter Hely-Hutchinson, Governor of Natal , succeeded him as Governor of the Cape Colony. The office of High Commissioner in South Africa was separated from the office of Governor and linked to that of the Transvaal - a sign of the changed conditions in South Africa. The separation of the colonialists into supporters of the Boer states and representatives of the British alliance was reflected to the detriment of the state's welfare in the parties of the Cape Parliament. There was a proposal to repeal the constitution, but this approach seemed too drastic. The Progressive Party, which assembled advocates of permanent settlement under the British flag, lost its leader and South Africa its leading statesman when Cecil Rhodes died in May 1902, a few weeks before the end of the war.

After the war

The Boers' recognition of the defeat in the field and the suppression of some 10,000 rebels did not weaken the Dutch’s efforts to achieve political supremacy in the colony. In the fall of 1902, Sir Gordon Sprigg, Prime Minister and nominal leader of the Progressives, sought to secure his position by securing the support of the Bond party in Parliament. In early 1902, Chamberlain included Cape Town on his route to South Africa and held conferences with political leaders from all parties. However, reconciliation between the Bond and the British in the colony was still impossible, and the two parties focused their efforts on winning the upcoming election. Hofmeyr, who had spent most of the war in Europe, returned to the Cape Colony to reorganize the Bond. Leander Jameson, on the other hand, emerged as the leader of the progressives. The parliament was dissolved in September 1903. It had adopted two major measures since the war - restricting immigration (1902) and ratifying the first trade union between all South African colonies. One of the main features of this convention was the preferential treatment (generally a 25% discount on already levied taxes) of imports from the United Kingdom.

The choice revolved around British or Bond supremacy. The rebels had been removed from the electoral roll. Many of them were not only disenfranchised, but were also imprisoned. The prognoses were ambiguous and both sides were campaigning for native voters who held the power balance in several constituencies. The representatives of the Bond were more generous in their promises to the indigenous population than their opponents and even invited an African journalist (in vain) to run for a seat in parliament. In the face of agitation to introduce Chinese porters to work in the mines of the Witwatersrand , the progressives declared their intention to expel them from the colony, which earned them some local votes. The election (in January and February 1904) finally brought the progressives a majority of five seats in a parliament with 95 members. Failed candidates included prominent Bond supporters such as Merriman and Sauer, as well as Sir Gordon Sprigg and A. Douglass, another member of the cabinet. Former Prime Minister WP Schreiner failed as an independent candidate.

On February 18, Leander Jameson replaced Sir Gordon Spriggs and formed a British-influenced ministry. The first official act was the introduction of an Additional Representation Bill on March 4, in order to at least partially offset the imbalance of the electorate in rural and urban districts. The larger cities shared twelve new seats in parliament and the legislature was expanded by three members. With most of the city's voters being British, there was bitter opposition from Bond members to the new law as they saw it as a means of eradicating their parliamentary power. In reality, the marked anomalies in the distribution of seats, by which a minority of voters in rural districts determined a majority of members, required the law and cities to be inappropriately represented. Two or three Dutch people who supported the law faced attacks by Bond officials. But the law was passed and in July, after the end of the season, the elections for the additional seats took place. The progressives increased their majority, which had previously made only one seat difference.

The Jameson Department faced a serious financial situation early on in his tenure. During the war, the supply of arms in the field had inflated trade artificially , and the Sprigg Ministry had pursued a policy of extravagant spending that was not insured by the colony's finances. The slow recovery of gold mines and other industries in the Transvaal after the war was evident in a massive drop in trade in the Cape Colony in the second half of 1903, with the stress being exacerbated by a severe dry season. Leander Jameson found his coffers empty when he took office and had to take out substantial loans on a temporary basis. In addition, income in 1904 decreased from £ 11,701,000 a year ago to £ 9,913,000. The government did not limit itself to cutting official salaries and pursuing strict economic policies, but also took out a loan of £ 3,000,000 in July 1904. It also introduced a tiered tax (6 pennies to 1 shilling per pound) on all incomes over £ 1,000. A considerable excise tax was levied on spirits and beer , which made the brandy manufacturers easier. This turned the deficit of £ 731,000 in 1904/05 into a surplus of £ 5,161 in 1905/06. The small plus was achieved despite a further decline in income.

Leander Jameson's program was largely material in nature. In the opening speech for the 1905 parliamentary season, he said: "Without a significant development of our agricultural and rural resources, we cannot secure our position as a self-sufficient colony." This reliance on its own resources was all the more necessary for the Cape Colony, as it is with Natal and Delagoa Bay competed for the trade of the Transvaal. The opening of the rear districts by the railroad was followed very closely, and great efforts were made to support agriculture. The efforts were rewarded with warm appreciation by the Dutch farmers and the release of the rebels in May 1904 was a further step towards reconciliation. The Bond party agreed with the ministry on the expulsion of the Chinese from the colony. An Education Act of 1905 established schools on the basis of popular franchising and provided the basis for the introduction of compulsory education . The establishment of friendly relations with the neighboring colonies was also one of the important topics in Dr. Jameson's politics. The Bond sought the proximity of "Het Volk", the Boer organization in the Transvaal, and similar groups. At the congress in Ceres in March 1906 , a resolution was passed, according to which, with reference to the original concept of Bond, Dutch thought and action was to be unified throughout South Africa.

Issues with the local population always gave cause for concern. In January 1905, a commission reported the "indigenous question" as it affected all of South Africa and made proposals for a change in the law in the Cape Colony to respect the franchise of the locals. The Commission believes that under the prevailing conditions, franchising would soon create an unreasonable situation in the hands of the local population, which is unwise and dangerous. (The 1905 registration resulted in 23,000 non-white voters in the colony.) The commission proposed separate elections for "coloreds" for a certain number of members, as was practiced in New Zealand with the Māori . The preferential treatment of the native population in the Cape Colony is an obstacle on the way to a South African alliance. The discussions that followed did not lead to any immediate result.

Another disruptive factor in connection with native affairs was the Herero and Nama uprising in German South West Africa . In 1904 and in the following years, numerous refugees, including some of the most important chiefs, came to British territory and Germany complained that the Cape government did not adequately control the refugees. However, the riots ended in September 1907. That month, Jakobus Morenga , a chief who had been interned by the colonial authorities but managed to escape and continued hostilities against the Germans, was back on the British side of the border, where he was after refusing to surrender, was pursued and killed by the Cape Mounted Police. The revolt in the German colony had indirectly caused a Boer raid in the Cape Colony almost a year before Morenga's death. In November 1906 a small group of Transvaal Boers used by the Germans against the Khoikhoi invaded the colony under the leadership of Ferreira and began raiding farms and forcibly recruiting. All filibusters were caught within a week . Ferreira and four companions were convicted of murder in February 1907, with the original death sentences commuted to penal sentences .

As a result of an intercolonial conference in Pietermaritzburg in early 1906, a new trade convention with a clearly protective character was created on June 1, 1906. At the same time the discount for goods from Great Britain and the reciprocal colonies increased. The parliamentary session responsible for this change was distinguished by the attention paid to the irrigation and railroad plans. An important policy measure in 1906 was an amnesty law that allowed more than 7,000 former rebels, who otherwise would not have had the right to vote in the next election, back to franchise in 1907.

While efforts to develop the country's agricultural and mineral resources were successful, cities continued to suffer from the inflation - an excess of shopping, construction, and speculation - that marked the wartime. As a consequence of this, imports continued to decline in 1906/07, and since revenues were largely dependent on taxes, government revenues decreased considerably. On June 30, 1907, the deficit was £ 640,455. The £ 4,000,000 loss in four years, while not reflecting the real economic conditions in the country, which was helping itself with increasing domestic production, caused general unrest and worsened the position of the Ministry. In 1907, the opposition caused a crisis in the legislature when it refused the supply requested by the House of Commons. Jameson questioned the legality of this act and on his advice the governor dissolved parliament in September 1907. Prior to its dissolution, Parliament passed a bill setting an income tax of 10% for diamond and copper companies with an annual income of over £ 50,000, as well as an agricultural credit bank bill.

Merriman as Prime Minister

In the elections in January 1908, the Bond won. Its supporters, who referred to themselves as the South African Party (the Progressives were renamed Unionists), won 17 seats out of a total of 26. Leander Jameson then resigned on January 31, and a ministry was formed under the leadership of Prime Minister and Treasurer John X Merriman and Labor Secretary JW Sauer. Neither of the two politicians belonged to the Bond and both had already been in office under Cecil Rhodes and WP Schreiner. However, they have long been the leading figures in Bond politics. The legislative elections followed in April and brought a decisive majority for the Merriman Ministry, also because the ex-rebels lost their right to vote. 69 members from the South African Party, 33 unionists and five independents, including ex-Prime Minister Sir Gordon Sprigg and Schreiner, were elected. The change in the ministry did not change the problematic financial situation. While the rural districts prospered somewhat (increase in agricultural products), merchanting and urban industry continued to decline. The Depression was exacerbated by the financial crisis in the US that affected the wool trade and, even more so, the diamond trade, which resulted in a temporary halt to the Kimberley mines. (The slump can be seen by comparing the values ​​for diamonds exported from the Cape Colony. The value fell from £ 8,973,148 in 1907 to £ 4,796,655 in 1908.) As a result, revenues decreased significantly and the public budget for 1907 / 1908 revealed a deficit of £ 996,000 and a projected deficit of about the same amount for the following year. To balance the budget, Merriman enacted drastic improvements, including a suspension of the declining fund, a reduction in salaries for all civil servants and an annual income tax of £ 50. The grave economic climate also helped the Cape Parliament to support the renewed movement for closer union of South African colonies that Jameson had formally initiated in 1907. In 1909 a national convention decided on unification and in 1910 the Union of South Africa was established, within which the Cape Colony became a "Cape Province".

Overview: Prime Minister of the Cape Colony since 1872

Sir John Charles Molteno, Prime Minister of the Cape Colony
Prime Minister Cecil John Rhodes
No. Surname Political party Taking office Term expires
1 Sir John Charles Molteno More independent December 1, 1872 February 5, 1878
2 Sir John Gordon Sprigg More independent February 6, 1878 May 8, 1881
3 Thomas Charles Scanlen More independent May 9, 1881 May 12, 1884
4th Thomas Upington Progressive party May 13, 1884 November 24, 1886
- Sir John Gordon Sprigg (2nd time) More independent November 25, 1886 July 16, 1890
5 Cecil John Rhodes More independent > 17. July 1890 January 12, 1896
- Sir John Gordon Sprigg (3rd time) More independent January 13, 1896 October 13, 1898
6th William Philip Carpenter More independent October 13, 1898 June 17, 1900
- Sir John Gordon Sprigg (4th time) Progressive party June 18, 1900 February 21, 1904
7th Leander Starr Jameson Progressive party February 22, 1904 February 2, 1908
8th John Xavier Merriman South African Party February 3, 1908 May 31, 1910


  • John Paul : The territorial expansion of British rule in South Africa up to the founding of Rhodesia. A political-geographical study of recent colonial history. Dissertation, Thomas & Hubert, Weida (Thuringia) 1927 ( online ).
  • Elizabeth Elbourne: Blood Ground: Colonialism, Missions, and the Contest for Christianity in the Cape Colony and Britain, 1799-1853 . McGill-Queen's University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-7735-2229-8 .
  • Basil Alexander Le Cordeur: The War of the Ax, 1847. Correspondence between the governor of the Cape Colony, Sir Henry Pottinger, and the commander of the British forces at the Cape, Sir George Berkeley, and others . Brenthurst Press, 1981, ISBN 0-909079-14-5 .
  • Alan Mabin: Recession and its aftermath. The Cape Colony in the eighteen eighties . University of the Witwatersrand, African Studies Institute, 1983.
  • Robert Ross, David Anderson: Status and Respectability in the Cape Colony, 1750-1870. A Tragedy of Manners . Cambridge University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-521-62122-4 .
  • George McCall Theal : 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, 1970, ISBN 0-8371-1661-9 (reprinted from 1887 edition).
  • PJ van der Merwe, Roger B. Beck: The Migant Farmer in the History of the Cape Colony . Ohio University Press, 1995, ISBN 0-8214-1090-3 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ David Lewis: Religion of the Cape Malays . S. 587, In: Ellen Hellmann, Leah Abrahams (Ed.): Handbook on Race Relations in South Africa . Cape Town, London, New York, Oxford University Press, 1949. pp. 586-598
  2. ^ Matylda Wlodarczyk: Community or communities of practice? 1820 petitioners in the Cape Colony. In: Joanna Kopaczyk, Andreas H. Jucker (Ed.): Communities of Practice in the History of English. John Benkamins Publishing, Amsterdam 2013, ISBN 9789027271204 , see excerpts from
  3. Christoph Marx : In the sign of the ox wagon: the radical Afrikaaner nationalism in South Africa and the history of the Ossewabrandwag. LIT, Münster 1998, ISBN 3825839079 , p. 1. Excerpts from

Web links

Commons : Cape Colony  - collection of images, videos, and audio files
Wiktionary: Cape Colony  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations