BRITISH OCCUPATION AT THE CAPE
Britain took control of the cape during the period of Mercantilism in Europe.
In 1580 Sir Francis Drake became the first British man to round the Cape of Good Hope. At the end of 18th century, The British became interested in seizing the cape colony from the Dutch.
The British first occupation of South Africa was in 1795 when they attacked and defeated the Boers at the Cape. There was a peace treaty between the Dutch and the British in 1802 and the Cape was given back to the Dutch in 1803.
However, in 1806 the British decided to re-occupy the Cape by defeating the Dutch.
MOTIVES FOR THE BRITISH INTERESTS IN THE CAPE
1. They wanted to protect their ships on the sea route to India.
2. They wanted to control the trade route on seawater (India & Asia).
3. They wanted to protect themselves against ships of enemies.
4. They wanted to get raw materials, market and area for investment.
5. They wanted to increase colonies.
TACTICS USED BY THE BRITISH TO OCCUPY THE CAPE
1. Introduction of land legislation system
They aimed at discouraging pastoralism among Boers and to encourage sedentary farming since the policy limited the size of an individual’s land.
The Dutch thought that the British introduced the land law to take land from the Boers and redistribute it to the landless Khoikhoi so they opposed the land law.
2. Abolition of slave trade and slavery in 1807
The British government abolished slave trade in all their colonies and offered compensation for slaves but the money was only paid in London as a result the majority did not get their compensation.
However, freeing slaves endangered the economic survival of the Boers as they depended much on slave labor.
3. Imposition of the English language as the as the official language
The British imposed English language and used in administering the law and justice and the medium of instruction in schools in 1822. Hence, English language replaced the Dutch as he official language.
4. Abolition of internal trade restriction imposed by the Dutch company
Officials on the farmers and other settlers at the cape. This created more trade opportunities as they could now trade freely without strictly control from the administration.
5. Introduction of the pass in 1809
To reduce the exploitation of African labor as the system required African workers to carry passbooks which indicated their residence and employment,
And those who did not carry them were regarded as criminals. The pass prevented the Africans from moving from district to district or moving into areas occupied by Europeans.
6. Introduction of contract system
Through this the Boers were to sign contracts with their workers. In those contracts, they were to mention the wages and other fringe benefits that they gave to their workers.
Therefore, the Boers regarded the contract system as British interference in the traditional Boer-Africans relationship of master-servant.
7. Introduction of the Black circuit court system in 1811
In order to reduce acts of violence committed by European employers against African employees. The law angered the Boers who considered themselves a superior race and thus natural masters of the Africans.
8. Provision of financial aid to the British settlers by the British government
This encouraged more of its citizens to immigrate to the Cape as a result in 1820 some 300 British settlers arrived in South Africa increasing the total white population by almost 12% within weeks.
9. Introduction of English law
As the basis of the legal system in South Africa.