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European Settlement
(page 4)
VOC Control
By 1700, the Cape Peninsula and the winelands were widely settled. Khoe resistance had been broken by warfare. Extensive tracts of land had been cultivated and plantation forests established. The herds of elephants, antelope and buffalo, hippos and lion prides had been reduced to remnant populations.

Slaves performed the hardest manual tasks and the Khoe had been put to work as shepherds. The Burghers (citizens), many of whom had been very poor in Europe, made themselves land owners and directors.

Slowly, the ratio of females to males became more even as burghers and officials called their wives from Europe, also, orphan girls were sent from Holland and female slaves arrived.

The VOC no longer tried to stop the energetic expansion of the colony, but their policy remained the same. The VOC would maintain, at the lowest possible cost, a trading post at the Cape to supply passing ships. All that had changed was that the products would not be acquired from the Khoe and the Company Gardens, but from the growing European settler population. It was still to be a trading post.

But in order to derive profits, the VOC had to retain control to stop the settlers trading directly with the ships. They supported the colony only in as much as required to make it economically productive. Their administration was therefore small, essentially commercial, but insisted upon absolute control (more...)

The Cape, therefore, was a 'colony' in that it was under VOC rule from Batavia, and, ultimately, Amsterdam, but there was no sense of a colonial 'civilising' mission as seen later in Africa. There was no attempt to build a society.

Thus, there was an active and large hospital, because sailors needed to recuperate. But there were virtually no primary schools and never a secondary school to serve the settler population. No missionaries were sent to the Cape. Few churches were built, and the VOC maintained control of church appointments.

Local politics was strictly controlled. There was no newspaper, in fact no printing press and no encouragement given to local politics. The Governor controlled all appointments to the main ruling councils - the Council of Burghers and Council of Justice.

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Heritage Sections
· Culture ·
· Environment ·
History · Society
Personalities · Areas

In this period of Cape History:


The First Years

A Town Develops

Simon v.d. Stel

VOC Control

Frontier Expansion

Cape Town in the 1700s

Cosmopolitan Cape Town

The Boom of the 1780s

The VOC Legacy

Bibliography & Contacts


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