Cape Colony, Or Cape Of Good Hope, a British possession comprising nearly all of the African continent south of lat. 28° S., and between Ion. 16° 30' and 28° 30' E. The colony is bounded N. by the Gariep or Orange river, which separates it from the Kalahari desert and the Orange River Free State, and by Bassuto Land, E. by Caffraria, which interposes between it and the British colony of Natal, S. by the Indian ocean, and TV. by the Atlantic; area, 200,610 sq. m.; pop. in 1865, 566,158, including British Caffraria, of whom 187,439 were whites, 164,-466 Cafrres, 81,598 Hottentots, and 132,655 "colored." This colored population consists of Malays and Africanders, the offspring of a Dutch father and a colored mother. The Hottentots are the lowest in intellectual grade; those of them who have not been driven into the desert regions are employed as servants and shepherds or" herdsmen. The Caffres are usually tall and robust, varying in color from a dark bronze to a jet black. They practise agriculture to a limited extent, cultivating maize, millet, beans, and watermelons; they have the art of working in iron, and manufacture a rude sort of earthenware. They practise circumcision, are polygamists, and have many of the worst vices of savages.
They are a pastoral rather than an agricultural people; many of them own large herds of cattle, and consider the herds and flocks of the whites as legitimate plunder. The Malays are usually Mohammedans; they are active and industrious, but passionate and revengeful. Of the whites a small portion are British or of direct British descent, chiefly government officials or traders in the towns, but including a few graziers and sheep farmers. The great majority of the whites are Boers, who are mostly of Dutch descent. (See Boers.) The colony receives few accessions from immigration, not more than a few hundreds in any year. - From each ocean the country slopes upward N. and E. toward the interior. From the Southern or Indian ocean it rises in three successive plateaus, increasing in height as they recede from the sea, and each separated from the others by mountain ranges. The first range, the Lange Kloof (Long Pass), runs from W. to E. nearly parallel with the Indian ocean, enclosing between it and the S. coast an irregular belt, from 20 to 60 m. broad, indented with bays, traversed by many streams, having a fertile soil, clothed with plants and shrubs, and here and there a group of forest trees. This plateau has frequent rains and a mild and equable climate.
The second range, the main portion of which is called the Groote Zwarte Bergen (Great Black mountains), and the smaller, toward the west, the Kleine Zwarte (Little Black), runs nearly parallel with the Lange Kloof, but is loftier and more rugged, sometimes reaching to the height of 4,000 ft., and consisting in some parts of double and treble ranges. The plateau between this and the Lange Kloof has an average breadth of 40 m. Its surface is varied; in some parts are steep barren hills; in others karroos, plains of arid clay, with here and there a patch of watered and fertile land. The climate of this plateau is less equable than that of the former one. The third range are the Nieuwveld (New Field) mountains. For 200 m., between Ion. 21° 45' and 25° E., the Nieuwveld runs nearly parallel with the Groote Zwarte, at a distance of about 80 m. and nearly on the parallel of 32° S. Its E. extremity is called the Sneeuwbergen (Snow mountains), the highest range in S. Africa, the loftiest summit reaching to about 10,000 ft. In about Ion. 25° E. it sends off two branches, one N. E., the other S. E. On the west, in Ion. 20° 45' E., the Nieuwveld joins with a range running N. W., nearly parallel with the Atlantic coast.
This range, known as the Roggeveld (Rye mountains), has an elevation of 5,000 ft. toward the south, while at the extreme north of the colony the Atlantic coast range reaches a height estimated at 9,000 ft. - What may be considered the habitable part of the colony constitutes less than a half of the whole. It lies mainly on the narrow slope toward the Atlantic, W. of the Roggeveld mountains, and the broader plateau S. of the Nieuwveld range, facing the Indian ocean. In this region, between the Nieuwveld and the Groote Zwarte mountains, is the Great Karroo, nearly 300 m. long and 80 broad. It is not strictly a desert, but rather a table land 3,000 ft. above the sea, thinly covered with an argillaceous soil resting upon a substratum of rock and gravel, with here and there steep slaty hills, and traversed by streams running southward, which become torrents after a rain storm, but in dry seasons are merely chains of shallow pools, barely sufficient to afford water to the herds of wild animals which resort to them by night.
The remainder of the habitable part is fairly adapted to agriculture. - The colony has a coast line of about 1,225 m., broken by numerous bays, the principal of which are St. Helena, Saldanha, and Table bays on the W. coast; False bay, with its indentation St. Simon bay, St. Sebastian, Mossel, Plettenberg, St. Francis, and Al-goa bays on the S. coast. Notwithstanding this great extent of coast line, there are few harbors. Saldanha bay, 65 m. N. N. W. of Cape Town, is the best. In Table bay, at Cape Town, ships lie safely from September to May, during the prevalence of the S. W. monsoon; but from June to August, when the N. W. winds set in, they are obliged to take refuge in Simon bay, on the opposite side of the peninsula of Cape Good Hope. Simon bay is the station of the British Cape squadron, and is frequented by vessels to and from India. Plettenberg bay is open to the S. E., but affords safe anchorage in 8 or 10 fathoms water, and forms a good shelter during strong N. E. and N. W. gales for vessels intending to make for Table bay. Algoa bay, still further E., is exposed to the prevailing winds, but affords good anchorage.
Port Elizabeth, the principal port after Cape Town, is situated on this bay. - On the Atlantic side, where the mountains approach the ocean, the rivers are few, short, and with little volume of water. The principal ones are the Kowrie (Buffalo), Zwarte Doom (Black Thorn), Olifant (Elephant, a name borne by several others), and Great Berg, which falls into the bay of St. Helena. Of those which, having a general S. course, fall into the Indian ocean, the principal are the Breede (Broad), Gauritz, Gamtoos, Sunday, Great Fish, Keiskamma, and Great Kei, which forms the E. boundary of the colony, separating it from Caffraria. None of these rivers are navigable except for short distances by small craft; the largest of them, the Gauritz and the Gamtoos, are moreover obstructed by bars at their mouths. The Gariep or Orange river, which forms the N. and partially the N. E. boundary, is 1,200 m. long, flowing from E. to W. through a large part of South Africa. In its lower course, where it borders on Cape Colony, it has an average breadth of a mile, and during the rainy season a depth of 50 ft.
The Orange river receives few affluents from Cape Colony; the principal is the Groote Harte-beest (Big Antelope), known in its upper course as the Zak, which, after receiving several affluents, falls into the Orange in lat. 28° 45' S., Ion. 21° E. The Groote Hartebeest receives most of the scanty drainage of the region N. of the Nieuwveld mountains. There are properly no lakes in the colony; but there are occasionally ponds or pools, some salt and others fresh. The principal salt pond is the " Commissioner's Salt Pan," lat. 28° 45' S., Ion. 21c E. - The prevailing geological formation is sandstone resting upon granite. Wherever the granite approaches the surface, there are numerous perpetual springs; but wherever, as is usually the case, especially in the N. W. half, the granite lies deep beneath the surface, springs are rare. Limestone is found in the E. parts; sand and clay form the surface of the great plains; alluvial loam and black peat are found near the sea. The colony is apparently poor in minerals. There is considerable copper, and a little lead, some of which contains a small percentage of silver. The soil of the Great Karroo is strongly impregnated with iron. Of coal there are some traces. Besides these, salt, alum, and saltpetre are the chief mineral products.
Sulphurous, nitrous, and other mineral springs are not infrequent. Carnelian and bloodstones are the principal precious stones, unless it shall be found that the diamond region extends into the colony. - The climate is in general equable, owing to the proximity of the two oceans, the mountain ranges, and the elevation of the plateaus. At Cape Town the mean temperature throughout the year is 67°, that of the coldest month being 57°, of the hottest 79°. In the interior the variation is much greater. On the great plains toward the north, really forming a part of the Kalahari desert, the heat is usually intense during the day, while the nights are uncomfortably cold. - The great deficiency of the colony is the lack of water, arising from its geological structure and the extreme irregularity of the rainfall. In many districts three successive years sometimes pass without a single shower. This peculiarity decides the general character of the vegetation. Near the Cape of Good Hope the flora is varied, but the flowers, though gorgeous in hue, lack fragrance. The trees are mostly mimosas and other thorny species, with scanty foliage, rarely attaining any considerable size.
The distinguishing feature of the vegetation is the preponderance of plants with bulbous and succulent roots, and others of the ground species. Not infrequently, by digging a foot into what appears dry sand, one comes upon a bulb, twice the size of an orange, filled with moisture; and after a rainy season the whole region is carpeted with creeping vines, bearing a profusion of melon-like fruits. Still the prevailing aspect of a great part of the colony is one of extreme aridity. The line of the watercourses is usually marked by a narrow fringe of mimosas; but elsewhere the region shows no vegetation except a few stunted shrubs, and what appear the dried-up vines of succulent plants, the deep-lying roots of which are fortified by a tenfold net of fibres under the upper rind. During the dry season these appear parched into a scanty brown stubble; but when the ground becomes moistened by rains these plants burst into sudden life, and the whole region seems transformed into a garden, cropped by vast herds of antelopes, zebras, quaggas, and other herbivorous animals, which seem to know by instinct where they will be able to find nutriment; these herds are followed by beasts of prey. Many of the European grains and fruits are cultivated.
Wheat flourishes fairly; the potato thrives, yielding two crops a year; tobacco does well in the proper soil; cherries and apples deteriorate, but figs, apricots, almonds, and oranges thrive. The vine was long since introduced into the district near the Cape of Good Hope, and Cape wine used once to pass for madeira, but of late years it has deteriorated and the production is greatly diminished; but there is a vineyard near Cape Town producing the Constantia wine, which bears a high repute. There appears, however, to be a considerable tract well adapted to the culture of the grape. Still the colony is rather a grazing than an agricultural country, the agricultural products being just sufficient for home consumption. In 1865 there were produced 1,389,878 bushels of wheat, 482,535 of barley and rye, and 324,683 of maize. The grazing farms are large, comprising from 3,000 to 10,000, and sometimes 15,000 acres. There are great herds of cattle; oxen are the chief beasts of burden and draught, teams of 20 and more being often attached to the great Cape wasrons in use all over the colony. In 1865 there were 692,514 head of cattle, 226,610 horses, and 2,437,444 goats, the flesh of which constitutes the main food of the Hottentot farm servants. Swine are of little account.
Turkeys, geese, ducks, and poultry are abundant. The native sheep, notable chiefly for their enormous tails, often weighing 20 lbs., are valueless for their fleece; but fine-wooled breeds from Spain, Saxony, and England have been introduced, and flourish remarkably. In 1865 the whole number of sheep was 9,826,065. Wool has become the main article of export, its value constituting fully three quarters of the entire exports. - The elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, lion, leopard, hyaena, jackal, zebra, quagga, boar, antelope, monkey, raccoon, and squirrel are indigenous. The larger game has been in great part extirpated or driven from the settled portions. The rhinoceros is nearly extinct; the hippopotamus is now found only in the Great Fish and Great Kei rivers; lions and elephants are rare; the elephant teeth which form a considerable part of the exports are mainly brought from beyond the Orange river. Leopards and hyaenas are still numerous in the eastern districts. The Cape buffalo (bos Gaffer), one of the largest and most untamable of the genus, is still met with. Antelopes of many species are numerous on the great plains, where after a rainfall, which gives life to vegetation, herds of many thousands are sometimes encountered. Eagles, vultures, and other birds of prey are found.
In the Great Karroo and along the skirts of the northern desert ostriches are abundant, often roaming in large flocks. Small birds are numerous, with beautiful plumage, but deficient in song. Lizards and other amphibia are abundant in the rivers; the serpent tribes are numerous and venomous. Some of the rivers are well stocked with fish; but generally they are not abundant, probably because many of the streams are so frequently dried up. A particular variety of locust (gryllus devastator), which is bred in the northern desert region, in some years commits great ravages; this forms a considerable part of the food of the Bushmen and Hottentots. But the great hunting region of S. Africa, described by Gordon Cumming, Baldwin, Andersson, and others, lies mainly N. and E. of the limits of Cape Colony. - The trade is mainly with Great Britain. In 1869 the total imports were £1,819,-723, of which £1,326,531 were from Great Britain and her colonies; exports, £2,681,075, of which £2,352,344 were to Great Britain and colonies.
The total imports from Great Britain in 1866 amounted to £1,399,024, consisting of apparel and haberdashery, £377,452; cotton goods, £333,840; woollen goods, £83,870; leather goods, £57,270; beer and ale, £47,528; iron, £43,307; hardware, £42,069; linen goods, £21,-802; books, £20,443. The exports to Great Britain in 1866 were in all £2,719,323, consisting of wool, £2,179,509; hides and skins, £159,265; ostrich feathers, £105,973; copper ore, £73,-572; cotton, £29,406; sugar, £32,560; elephants' teeth, £19,779; coffee, £12,854; rice, £15,868; aloes, £12,443; wine, £2,010. In 1870 the exports to Great Britain were £2,433,-697; imports from Great Britain, £1,547,029. The quantity of wool exported to Great Britain increased annually from 18,377,644 lbs., valued at £1,316,976, in 1864, to 34,225,569 lbs., valued at £2,105,416, in 1867; from which they fell to 28,813,583, valued at £1,835,390, in 1870. - The present form of government dates essentially from 1853, but was somewhat modified by the act of parliament, 1865, incorporating British Caffraria with Cape Colony. The executive power is vested in the governor and an executive council appointed by the crown. The governor has a salary of £5,000, besides £1,000 as her majesty's high commissioner, and £500 allowance for a country residence.
The legislative power rests in a legislative council of 21 members, 10 of whom are elected for 10 years and 11 for 5 years; and a house of assembly of 66 members elected for 5 years. Members of the council must possess real estate to the value of £2,000, or movable property to the value of £4,000. With the exception of salaried officers and a few others, any colonist is eligible to the assembly. Voters must have an income from property, salary, or wages, of from £25 to £50. The military force consists of about 6,000 men, including a detachment of royal artillery, a party of the royal engineers, and a regiment of mounted riflemen, termed the Cape cavalry, the privates and non-commissioned officers of which are mainly Hottentots. The naval force is under the command of a rear admiral, with authority over the E. and W. coasts of Africa, Mauritius, and St. Helena. The revenue is derived in great part from duties on imports; in 1869 it amounted to £593,-245. The expenditures are mainly for interest on the public debt, the police, jails, and convicts; in 1868 they amounted to £656,172. The public debt in 1867 was £1,101,650, most of it bearing interest at 6 per cent.
It is proposed to pay the whole by instalments, extending to the year 1900. The Dutch Reformed church includes the entire Dutch population and many of the colored inhabitants, and is the predominant sect. The church of England has two bishoprics. The Wesleyans form a considerable sect. There are also Independents, Lutherans, and a few Scotch Presbyterians. There are about 6,000 Roman Catholics, who have two bishops, one residing at Cape Town, the other at Graham's Town. All these denominations receive aid from government. The entire amount expended for religious purposes in 1864 was £15,270. There is a good system of public education. In every district there is a free school sustained by government. There are two colleges, the South African college, founded in 1829, and the Bishop's college. The sum expended for educational purposes in 1864 was £17,510. There are also a number of missionary schools. - The colony is held to be important for Great Britain because it is the key to the Indian ocean, and forms a depot where troops can be collected and forwarded to India, the eastern archipelago, and Australia. For administrative purposes the settled part is divided into the following districts or counties: Albany, Albert, Aliwal, Beaufort, British Caffraria, Cape, Clan William, Colesberg, Cra-dock, George, Graaf Reynet, Malmesbury, Paar, Picketberg, Queenstown, Richmond, Rivers-dale, Somerset, Stellenbosch, Zwellendam, Uitenhage, Victoria, Worcester. Besides these there are the unoccupied regions still bearing the names of Little Namaqua Land and Great Bushmen Land, bordering the Orange river on the north; and S. of these, but N. of the Meuw-veld range, a large district named Victoria West, in which are a few settlements. - It seems probable from the statement of Herodotus that the Cape of Good Hope was sailed round by the Phoenicians about 600 B. C.; but it was practically unknown to the civilized world until nearly 2,100 years later, when the Portuguese Bartolomeu Diaz reached it (1487). In 1497 Vasco da Gama rounded the cape on his voyage to India; but no serious attempt at settlement was made till 1650, when the Dutch East India company established a colony for the purpose of raising provisions for their vessels to and from India. They found the country in possession of a people calling themselves Quaquas, but to whom the Dutch gave the name of Hottentots, from hot en (and) tot, two syllables of frequent occurrence in their language.
The Dutch colony for a considerable time was confined to the neighborhood of the cape, but the limits were gradually extended, the natives being driven back .or reduced to slavery. They also introduced many Malay and negro slaves. Besides the Dutch settlers there were many Germans, Flemings, and Portuguese. In 1686 there was a considerable immigration of Huguenots who left France after the revocation of the edict of Nantes. In 1795 the colonists attempted to free themselves from the Dutch rule, but the British government sent a fleet, and took possession of the colony in the name of the prince of Orange; and it was ruled by British governors till 1802, when it was restored to Holland. Upon the renewal of the European wars in 1806, the British again took possession; and the colony was formerly ceded to them by the king of the Netherlands at the general peace of 1815. There have been several wars with theCaffres. The first was in 1811; the second in 1819, when the boundary was extended to the Kei, the present eastern limit; but the region between that river and the Keiskamma was soon restored to the Caffres. The third war took place in 1835, at the close of which the territory as far as the Kei river was again given up to the British, the inhabitants being declared subjects of the crown; this district formed till 1865 the colony of British Caffraria. The fourth Cadre war lasted from 1846 to 1848. In 1850 another war broke out, which lasted till 1852. The final result of this was to establish the present boundary of Cape Colony, the British abandoning all claim to the region N. E. of the Nu Gariep, or S. W. branch of the Orange river.
In 1820 5,000 Scotch emigrants sent out by the government landed at Algoa bay, and laid the foundation of the settlements on the eastern borders, which have been pushed much further into the interior than any others, and now form the most flourishing portion of the colony. In 1834 the slaves were emancipated. The troubles with the Boers, commencing in 1835, resulted in the establishment of two independent republics bordering on Cape Colony. (See Boers.) In 1848 the British government undertook to make the Cape a penal colony, mostly for political offenders. The colonists opposed this, and formed an anti-convict association, the members of which pledged themselves to hold no intercourse of any kind with any person who should in any way be connected with the landing, supplying, or employing of convicts. The association included nearly all the people near Cape Town. On Sept. 19, 1849, a vessel entered Simon bay having on board 289 convicts, mostly persons who had been implicated in the Irish insurrection. Great indignation was aroused, and the governor agreed not to land the convicts, but to keep them on board the ship until he should receive orders to send them elsewhere.
They were finally sent to Tasmania. The agitation thus aroused continued, its purpose being now to secure a representative government for the colony. This was granted in 1853, and a constitution was framed, essentially the same as that which is now in force.