THE KAFFIR OR CAPE FRONTIER WARS 1779 -
THE FIRST KAFFIR OR CAPE FRONTIER WAR 1779 (G3a)
xxxxxAs we have seen, the Dutchman Jan van Riebeeck established the first European settlement at Cape Town, South Africa, in 1652 (CW). Development of the hinterland began five years later, and within a hundred years the Dutch farmers (Boers) had penetrated deep inland at the expense of the indigenous population. In 1779, however, having reached the Great Fish River, they came into conflict with a group of tribes known as the Xhosa. This encounter was but the first of a series of Kaffir or Cape Frontier Wars which was to last for a century. The Boers were better armed, but the Xhosa were far too superior in numbers to make possible any further advance. Indeed, as we shall see, it was not until 1836 (W4) that the Boers finally outflanked their enemy and began their Great Trek in search of a new homeland. In the meantime, the British had taken control of the Cape. They made some gains against the Xhosa in 1811, but it was not until 1879 that these tribes were finally subdued and their lands made part of Cape Colony, though, as we shall see (1852 Va), they were soundly defeated in the war of 1850 to 1853 and never really recovered after that.
xxxxxAs we have seen, the Dutchman Jan van Riebeeck established the first European settlement at Table Bay (now Cape Town in South Africa) in 1652 (CW). Originally, the fort here was simply intended as a stopover station and a storehouse for the Dutch East India Company, but, inevitably, the settlement began to expand to meet the needs of its people. In 1657 a number of company servants were released from their employment to cultivate land on the company's behalf, and with the arrival of slaves the following year, farms and vineyards were established further inland.
xxxxxThe main need was for livestock and, at first, the cattle were obtained by bartering with the local tribesmen, the Khoikhoi. However, as the white farmers (Boers) moved further north and east, the Khoikhoi, together with the local Bushmen, were pushed out of their lands. Many of their men were killed, and the women and children put to work on the colonial farms. Thus by the 1770s the settlement in South Africa had two distinct regions: the area around the Cape of Good Hope, and the dry lands of the interior, where the trekboers, searching for new pasture, were pushing ever outwards at the expense of the indigenous population.
xxxxxThis advance of the white farmers into land long held by various Bantu-
xxxxxIn the meantime, the second encounter 1789 to 1793 -
xxxxxIncidentally, the fifth war (1818-
Map (South Africa): contained in the Online Travel Guide of South Africa Travel, source unknown. Khiokhoi: adapted from an original San Rock Painting by the South African/Irish artist Avril Brand, and contained in her South Africa West Coast: The Forgotten People. Trekboers: aquatint by the English artist Samuel Daniell (1775-