|approx. 1.5 million.|
|Afrikaans, English, Dutch|
|Protestant , Afrikaner Calvinism, Calvinism, Reformed churches|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Dutch, Flemish, Frisians; Germans, French, Scots, English; Cape Coloureds, Basters, Griquas|
Boer (English pronunciation: //, //, // or //; Dutch: [bur]) is the Dutch and Afrikaans word for farmer, which came to denote the descendants of the Dutch-speaking settlers of the eastern Cape frontier in Southern Africa during the 18th century, as well as those who left the Cape Colony during the 19th century to settle in the Orange Free State, Transvaal (which are together known as the Boer Republics), and to a lesser extent Natal. Their primary motivations for leaving the Cape were to escape British rule and extract themselves from the constant border wars between the British imperial government and the tribes on the eastern frontier.
- 1 History
- 2 Characteristics
- 3 Modern usage
- 4 Boers
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The Dutch East India Company had been formed in the Dutch Republic, in 1602, and the Dutch had entered keenly into the competition for the colonial and imperial trade of Eastern commerce. In 1648 one of their ships was stranded in Table Bay, and the shipwrecked crew were left to forage for themselves on shore for several months. They were so pleased with the resources of the country that on their return to the Republic they represented to the directors of the company the great advantages that would accrue to the Dutch Eastern trade from a properly provided and fortified station of call at the Cape. The result was that in 1652 a fort and vegetable gardens were laid out at Table Bay by a Dutch expedition sent for the purpose under a surgeon named Jan van Riebeek. Van Riebeek landed at Table Bay and took control over the settlement established the previous 10 years Cape Town. In 1657 a few soldiers and sailors, discharged by the Dutch East India Company, had farms allotted to them, and these men constituted the first so-called “free burgers.” In 1671 the first purchase of land from the Khoikhoi beyond the limits of the fort built by Van Riebeek marked the beginning of the Colony proper. The earliest colonists were for the most part people of low station or indifferent character, but as the result of the investigations of a commissioner sent out in 1685 a [clarification needed] was introduced.
More settlers were landed from time to time, including a number of orphan girls from Amsterdam, and during 1688–1689 the colony was greatly strengthened by the arrival of some three hundred Huguenots (men, women and children), who were located at Stellenbosch, Drakenstein, Franschhoek and Paarl. They were French refugees who left their country on the revocation of the edict of Nantes. The influence of this small body of immigrants on the character of the Dutch settlers was marked. The Huguenots, however, owing to the policy of the Company, which in 1701 directed that only Dutch should be taught in the schools, ceased by the middle of the 18th century to be a distinct body, and the knowledge of French disappeared. The little settlement gradually spread eastwards, and in 1754 the country as far as Algoa Bay was included in the colony. At this time the white colonists numbered eight to ten thousand. They possessed numerous slaves, grew wheat in sufficient quantity to make it an article of export, and were famed for the good quality of their wines. But their chief wealth was in cattle. Such prosperity as they enjoyed was in spite of the system of government prevailing.
All through the latter half of the 17th and the whole of the 18th century troubles arose from time to time between the colonists and the government. The administration of the Dutch East India Company was of an extremely despotic character. It was not to the hostility of the natives, nor to the hard struggle with nature necessary to make agriculture profitable on Karroo or veld, that the slow progress made by the colonists was due, so much as to the narrow and tyrannical policy adopted by the East India Company, which closed the colony against free immigration, kept the whole of the trade in its own hands, combined the administrative, legislative and judicial powers in one body, prescribed to the farmers the nature of the crops they were to grow, demanded from them a large part of their produce, and harassed them with other exactions tending to discourage industry and enterprise.
From time to time, servants in the direct employment of the company were endowed with the right of “freeburghers,” but the company retained the power to compel them to return into its service whenever they deemed it necessary. This right to force into servitude those who might incur the displeasure of the governor or other high officers was not only exercised with reference to the individuals themselves who had received this conditional freedom; it was claimed by the government to be applicable likewise to the children of all such. The effect of this tyranny was inevitable: it drove men to desperation. They fled from oppression, and thus trekking began, not in 1835, as is generally stated, but before 1700. From 1720 to 1780 trekking had gone steadily forwards. In 1780, Joachim van Plettenberg, the governor, proclaimed the Sneeuberge the northern boundary of the colony, expressing “the anxious hope that no more extension should take place, and with heavy penalties forbidding the rambling peasants to wander beyond.” In 1789, so strong had feeling amongst the burghers become that delegates were sent from the Cape to interview the authorities at Amsterdam. After this deputation, some nominal reforms were granted.
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To this mischievous policy is ascribed that dislike to orderly government, and that desire to escape from its control, which characterized for many generations the “boer” or farmer class of Dutch settlers— qualities utterly at variance with the character of the Dutch in their native country. It was largely to escape oppression that the farmers trekked farther and farther from the seat of government. The company, to control the emigrants, established a magistracy at Swellendam in 1745 and another at Graaff Reinet in 1786. The Gamtoos River had been declared, c. 1740, the eastern frontier of the colony, but it was soon passed, In 1780, however, the Dutch, to avoid collision with the warlike Bantu tribes advancing south and west from east central Africa, agreed with them to make the Great Fish River the common boundary. In 1795 the heavily taxed burghers of the frontier districts, who were afforded no protection against the Bantus, expelled the officials of the Dutch East India Company, and set up independent governments at Swellendam and Graaff Reinet.
Evolution of the Dutch Cape Colony (1700-1800)
In the same year, Holland having fallen under the revolutionary government of France, a British force under General Sir James Henry Craig was sent to Cape Town to secure the colony for the prince of Orange — a refugee in England — against the French. The governor of Cape Town at first refused to obey the instructions from the prince, but when the British proceeded to take forcible possession, he capitulated. His action was hastened by the fact that the Khoikhoi, deserting their former masters, flocked to the British standard. The burghers of Graaff Reinet did not surrender until a force had been sent against them, while in 1799 and again in 1801 they rose in revolt. In February 1803, as a result of the peace of Amiens (February 1803), the colony was handed over to the Batavian Republic, which introduced many needful reforms, as had the British during their eight years' rule. One of the first acts of General Craig had been to abolish torture in the administration of justice. During the eight years the British held the Cape notable reforms in the government were effected, but the country remained essentially Dutch, and few British settlers were attracted to it. Its cost to the British exchequer during this period was £16.000.000. The Batavian Republic entertained very liberal views as to the administration of the country, but they had little opportunity for giving them effect.
War having again broken out, a British force was once more sent to the Cape. After an engagement (January 1806) on the shores of Table Bay, the Dutch garrison of Cape Castle surrendered to the British under Sir David Baird, and in 1814 the colony was ceded outright by Holland to the British crown. At that time the colony extended to the line of mountains guarding the vast central plateau, then called Bushmansland, and had an area of about 120.000 sq. m. and a population of some 60.000, of whom 27.000 were whites, 17.000 free Khoikhoi and the rest slaves, mostly imported blacks and Malays.
To this one further note must be added. The Trek Boers of the 19th century were the lineal descendants of the Trek Boers of the 18th. What they had learnt of government from the Dutch East India Company they carried into the wilderness with them. The end of the 19th century saw a revival of this same tyrannical monopolist policy in the Transvaal. If the formula, “In all things political, purely despotic; in all things commercial, purely monopolist,” was true of the government of the Dutch East India Company in the 18th century, it was equally true of Kruger's government in the latter part of the 19th.
Dislike of British Rule
Although the colony was fairly prosperous, many of the Dutch farmers were as dissatisfied with British rule as they had been with that of the Dutch East India Company, though their ground of complaint was not the same. In 1792 Moravian missions had been established for the benefit of the Khoikhoi, and in 1799 the London Missionary Society began work among both Khoikhoi and Bantus. The championship of Khoikhoi grievances by the missionaries caused much dissatisfaction among the majority of the colonists, whose views, it may be noted, temporarily prevailed, for in 1812 an ordinance was issued which empowered magistrates to bind Khoikhoi children as apprentices under conditions differing little from that of slavery. Meantime, however, the movement for the abolition of slavery was gaining strength in England, and the missionaries at length appealed from the colonists to the mother country. An incident which occurred in 1815–1816 did much to make permanent the hostility of the frontiersmen to the British.
The underlying fact which made the trek possible is that the Dutch-descended colonists in the eastern and north-eastern parts of the colony were not cultivators of the soil, but of purely pastoral and nomad habits, ever ready to seek new pastures for their flocks and herds, and possessing no special affection for any particular locality. In the next place these people, thinly scattered over a wide extent of territory, had lived for long under little restraint from the laws, and when in 1815, by the institution of “Commissions of Circuit,” justice was brought nearer to their homes, various offences were brought to light, the remedying of which caused much resentment.
A farmer named Frederick Bezuidenhout refused to obey a summons issued on the complaint of a Khoikhoi, and firing on the party sent to arrest him, was himself killed by the return fire. This caused a miniature rebellion, and on its suppression five ringleaders were publicly hanged at the spot — Slachters Nek— where they had sworn to expel “the English tyrants.” The feeling caused by the hanging of these men was deepened by the circumstances of the execution — for the scaffold on which the rebels were simultaneously swung, broke down from their united weight and the men were afterwards hanged one by one. An ordinance passed in 1827, abolishing the old Dutch courts of landroost and heemraden (resident magistrates being substituted) and decreeing that henceforth all legal proceedings should be conducted in English; the granting in 1828, as a result of the representations of the missionaries, of equal rights with whites to the Khoikhoi and other free coloured people; the imposition (1830) of heavy penalties for harsh treatment of slaves, and finally the emancipation of the slaves in 1834— all these things increased the dislike of the farmers to the government. Moreover, the inadequate compensation awarded to slave-owners, and the suspicions engendered by the method of payment, caused much resentment, and in 1835 the trekking of farmers into unknown country in order to escape from an unloved government, which had characterized the 18th century, recommenced. Emigration beyond the colonial border had in fact been continuous for 150 years, but it now took on larger proportions.
It intensified in the minds of many Boers the feeling of hostility towards the British already existing; some of the trekkers in 1836–1840 had taken part in and others had passively aided the rebellion of 1815 — “the most insane attempt ever made by a set of men to wage war against their sovereign” (Henry Cloete). What, however, was probably the most powerful motive of the Great Trek was the equality established by the British between the black and white races. In the eyes of the Boers the possibility of equality between the whites and the natives was not admitted. This sentiment, which found formal recognition later on in the constitution of the South African Republic, was held in fullest force by the voortrekkers. Summing up, it may be said that the exasperation caused by just grievances unremedied was no stronger a motive with the trekkers than the desire to be free from the restraints imposed on British subjects and the wish to be able to deal with the natives after their own fashion.
Sixth Frontier War
The year which witnessed the emancipation of the slaves and the creation of the first treaty state also saw the beginning of another disastrous Frontier war. Fighting began in December 1834, and lasted nearly a year. The Xhosa wrought great havoc, and Sir Benjamin D'Urban, the governor, in order to secure peace, extended the boundary of the colony to the Kei River. The Xhosa had suffered much injustice, especially from the commando-reprisal system, but they had also committed many injustices, and for the disturbed state of the border the vacillating policy of the Cape government was largely to blame. Sir Benjamin's policy — which had the cordial approval both of the Dutch and the British colonists — was one of close settlement by whites in certain districts and military control of the Bantus in other regions, and it would have done much to ensure peace.
Lord Glenelg, secretary for the colonies in Lord Melbourne's second administration, held that the Xhosa were in the right in the quarrel, and he compelled D'Urban to abandon the conquered territory, a mistaken decision adopted largely on the advice of John Philip and his supporters. Thus at this time (1836) a critical state had arisen in South Africa. The colonists had lost their slaves, the eastern frontier was in a state of insecurity, the British immigrants of 1820 were still struggling against heavy odds; the Dutch colonists were in a state of great indignation. Also, the Commissie Treks reported much of the land to which the Boers were contemplating migration had been virtually swept clear of its people by the 1830s. In these circumstances what is known as the Great Trek occurred. It lasted between 1835 and the early 1840s. During that period some 12.000 to 14.000 Boers (including women and children), impatient of British rule, emigrated from Cape Colony into the great plains beyond the Orange River, and across them again into Natal and into the fastnesses of the Zoutspansberg, in the northern part of the Transvaal.
Those Trekboere who trekked into and occupied the eastern Cape were semi-nomadic. A significant number in the eastern Cape frontier later became Grensboere ("border farmers") who were the direct ancestors of the Voortrekkers. The Voortrekkers were those Boers (mainly from the eastern Cape) who left the Cape en masse in a series of large scale migrations later called the Great Trek beginning in 1835 as a result of British colonialism and constant border wars. When used in a historical context, the term Boer may refer to an inhabitant of the Boer Republics as well as those who were cultural Boers.
Though the Boers accepted British rule without resistance in 1877, they fought two Boer Wars in the late 19th century to defend their internationally recognised independent countries, the republics of the Transvaal (the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek, or ZAR) and the Orange Free State (OFS), against the threat of annexation by the British Crown. This led the key figure in organising the resistance, Paul Kruger, into conflict with the British.
Boer War diaspora
After the second Anglo-Boer War, a Boer diaspora occurred. Starting in 1903, the largest group emigrated to the Patagonia region of Argentina. Another group emigrated to British-ruled Kenya, from where most returned to South Africa during the 1930s, while a third group under the leadership of General Ben Viljoen emigrated to Mexico and to New Mexico and Texas in the southwestern United States.
The Maritz Rebellion or the Boer Revolt or the Five Shilling Rebellion or the Third Boer War, occurred in South Africa in 1914 at the start of World War I, in which men who supported the re-creation of the old Boer republics rose up against the government of the Union of South Africa because they did not want to side with the British against Germany so soon after they had had a long bloody war with the British. Many Boers had German ancestry and many members of the government were themselves former Boer military leaders who had fought with the Maritz rebels against the British in the Second Boer War, which had ended only twelve years earlier. The rebellion was put down by Louis Botha and Jan Smuts, and the ringleaders received heavy fines and terms of imprisonment. A renowned Boer, Jopie Fourie, was executed for treason in 1914. He was convicted as a rebel when, as an officer in the Union Defence Force, he refused to take up arms with the British.
The desire to wander, known as trekgees, was a notable characteristic of the Boers. It figured prominently in the late 17th century when the Trekboere began to inhabit the northern and eastern Cape frontiers, again during the Great Trek when the Voortrekkers left the eastern Cape en masse, and after the major republics were established during the Thirstland (Dorsland) Trek. When one such trekker was asked why he has emigrated he explained, "a drifting spirit was in our hearts, and we ourselves could not understand it. We just sold our farms and set out north-westwards to find a new home." A rustic characteristic and tradition was developed quite early on as Boer society was born on the frontiers of white settlement and on the outskirts of civilisation.
The Boers had cut their ties to Europe as they emerged from the Trekboer group.
The separation and declaration of the republics were made out of necessity rather than a personal choice. The Dutch were unwilling to protect the people they abandoned at the Cape of Good Hope.
The Boer quest for independence manifested in a tradition of declaring republics, which predates the arrival of the British; when the British arrived, Boer republics had already been declared and were in rebellion from the VOC (Dutch East India Company).
The Boers of the frontier were known for their independent spirit, resourcefulness, hardiness, and self-sufficiency, whose political notions verged on anarchy but had begun to be influenced by republicanism. Most of the men were also skilled with the use of guns as they would hunt and also were able to protect their families with them.
The Boers are well known for their strong nationalistic character. Their nationalism was born out of hundreds of years of fighting against imperialism, then continuing struggle for independence battling mainly British expansion into central South Africa, as well as the harsh African climate and a strong sense of nationhood. As with any other ethnic group that has gone from troubled land to troubled land, many of them see it as their duty to educate future generations on their people's past.
The Boer nation is mainly descended from the Dutch, Germans, and French Huguenots, who migrated to South Africa during the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries. The Boer nation has revealed a distinct Calvinist culture and the majority of Boers today are still members of a Reformed Church. The Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk was the national Church of the South African Republic (1852–1902). The "Orange" in Orange Free State (1854–1902) was named after the Protestant House of Orange in the Netherlands.
The Calvinist influence remains in that some fundamental Calvinist doctrines such as unconditional predestination and divine providence remains present in much of Boer culture, who see their role in society as abiding by the national laws and accepting calamity and hardship as part of their Christian duty.
During recent times, mainly during the apartheid reform and post-1994 eras, many more white Afrikaans-speaking people, mainly with "conservative" political views and of Trekboer and Voortrekker descent, have preferred to be called "Boere", rather than "Afrikaners". They feel that there were many people of Voortrekker descent who were not co-opted or assimilated into what they see as the Cape-based Afrikaner identity which began emerging after the Second Anglo-Boer War and the subsequent establishment of the Union of South Africa in 1910. Certain Boer nationalists have asserted that they do not consider themselves a right-wing element of the political spectrum.
They contend that the Boers of the South African Republic (ZAR) and Orange Free State republics were recognised as a separate people or cultural group under international law by the Sand River Convention (which created the South African Republic in 1852), the Bloemfontein Convention (which created the Orange Free State Republic in 1854), the Pretoria Convention (which re-established the independence of the South African Republic 1881), the London Convention (which granted the full independence to the South African Republic in 1884) and the Vereeniging Peace Treaty, which formally ended the Second Anglo-Boer War on 31 May 1902. Others contend, however, that these treaties dealt only with agreements between governmental entities and do not imply the recognition of a Boer cultural identity per se.
The supporters of these views feel that the Afrikaner designation (or label) was used from the 1930s onwards as a means of unifying (politically at least) the white Afrikaans speakers of the Western Cape with those of Trekboer and Voortrekker descent (whose ancestors began migrating eastward during the late 17th century and throughout the 18th century and later northward during the Great Trek of the 1830s) in the north of South Africa, where the Boer Republics were established.
Since the Anglo-Boer war the term "Boerevolk" was rarely used in the 20th century by the various regimes because of this attempt to assimilate the Boerevolk with the Afrikaners. A portion of those who are the descendants of the Boerevolk have reasserted this designation.
The supporters of the "Boer" designation view the term "Afrikaner" as an artificial political label which usurped their history and culture, turning "Boer" achievements into "Afrikaner" achievements. They feel that the Western-Cape based Afrikaners – whose ancestors did not trek eastwards or northwards – took advantage of the republican Boers' destitution following the Anglo-Boer War and later attempted to assimilate the Boers into a new politically based cultural label as "Afrikaners".
In contemporary South Africa and due to Broederbond propaganda, Boer and Afrikaner have been used interchangeably despite the fact that the Boers are the smaller segment within the Afrikaner designation as the Afrikaners of Cape Dutch origin are larger. Afrikaner directly translated means "African" and subsequently refers to all Afrikaans speaking people in Africa who have their origins in the Cape Colony founded by Jan Van Riebeeck. Boer is the specific group within the larger Afrikaans speaking population.
The BCVO (Movement for Christian-National Education) is a federation of 47 Calvinist private schools, primarily in the Free State and the Transvaal, committed to educating Boer children from grade 0 through to 12.
Some local Radio stations promote the ideals of those who identify with the Boer people, like Radio Rosestad (in Bloemfontein), Overvaal Stereo and Radio Pretoria. An internet-based radio station, Boerevolk Radio, serves as a mouthpiece for Boer separatists.
- Voortrekker leaders
- Great trek
- Participants in the Second Anglo-Boer War
- Koos de la Rey, general and regarded as being one of the great military leaders of the Second Anglo-Boer War.
- Danie Theron, soldier
- Christiaan Rudolf de Wet, general
- Siener van Rensburg, considered a prophet by some.
- Sergeant Major Meyder Johannes Leibbrandt, father of Robey Leibbrandt, German special agent of the Abwehr during World War II.
- Louis Botha, first prime minister of South Africa (1910–1919) and former Boer general
- Petrus Jacobus Joubert, general and cabinet member of the Transvaal Republic
- Paul Kruger, president of the Transvaal Republic
- Eugene Terre'Blanche, founder of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging
- Fritz Joubert Duquesne, a Boer Captain known as the Black Panther, served in the Second Boer War. Captured in Mozambique, he escaped prison in Portugal and returned to South Africa as a British officer. In 1901, he was caught planning to sabotage strategic British installations in Cape Town and sentenced to life in prison; however, he escaped and was re-captured several times again throughout his life. In World War I, Duquesne spied for Germany, earning the Iron Cross for allegedly sinking the HMS Hampshire thereby killing Lord Kitchener in 1916. He also served as a Nazi spy in the United States and, in 1941, he was caught by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the largest espionage case in US history: The Duquesne Spy Ring.
- Stürmann, Jan (2005). New Coffins, Old Flags, Microorganisms and the Future of the Boer. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- Jones, Daniel; Gimson, Alfred C. (1977) . Everyman's English Pronunciation Dictionary. Everyman's Reference Library (14 ed.). London: J. M. Dent & Sons. ISBN 0-460-03029-9.
- Du Toit, Brian M. (1998). The Boers in East Africa: Ethnicity and Identity. p. 1. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- H. C. Viljoen, The Contribution of the Huguenots in South Africa
- 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/South Africa
The most complete account of the company's tenure and government of the Cape was written in 1857 by E. B. Watermeyer, a Cape colonist of Dutch descent residing in Cape Town. He points out that it was after failing to find a route by the north-east to China and Japan that the Dutch turned their eyes to the Cape route. The Cape of Good Hope subsequently "became not a colony of the Republic of the United Provinces, but a dependency of the ‘Netherlands Chartered General East India Company’ for mercantile purposes; and to this fact principally can be traced the slow progress, in all but extension of territory, of a country which was settled by Europeans within thirty years of the time when the Pilgrim Fathers, the founders of a mighty empire, landed at Plymouth to plant democratic institutions and European civilization in the West."
- 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/South Africa
On the settlement under van Riebeek, and the position in it which the so-called “free burghers” enjoyed, this candid Dutch writer throws an interesting light. “The people,” he says, “who came here with Riebeek himself were not colonists intending permanently to settle at the Cape … The proposition that any freemen or burghers not in the pay of the company should be encouraged to cultivate the ground was first made about three years after Riebeek's arrival. Accordingly, some discharged sailors and soldiers, who received on certain conditions plots of ground extending from the Fresh River to the Liesbeek, were the first free burghers of the colony … Here it is sufficient to say that, generally, the term ‘free burgher’ was a complete misnomer. The first burghers were, in truth, a mere change from paid to unpaid servants of the company. They thought, in obtaining their discharge, that they had much improved their condition, but they soon discovered the reverse to be the fact. And henceforward, to the end of the last [18th] century we find the constantly repeated and well-founded complaint, that the company and its officers possessed every advantage, while the freemen were not allowed even the fruit of their own toil; … The natural effect of this narrow and tyrannous rule was discontent, amounting often to disaffection. After a time every endeavour was made to escape beyond the immediate control of the authorities. Thus the ‘trekking’ system, with its attendant evils, the bane of South Africa, was born. By their illiberal spirit, which sought but temporary commercial advantage in connexion with the Eastern trade, the Dutch authorities themselves, although generally humanely disposed towards the natives, created the system which caused their oppression and extermination.”
- 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/South Africa
When it is borne in mind that the Dutch at the Cape were for one hundred and forty-three years under the rule of the Dutch East India Company, the importance of a correct appreciation of the nature of that rule to any student of South African history is obvious. No modern writer approaches Watermeyer either in the completeness of his facts or the severity of his indictment. Referring to the policy of the company, Watermeyer says: —
The Dutch colonial system as exemplified at the Cape of Good Hope, or rather the system of the Dutch East India Company (for the nation should not wholly suffer under the condemnation justly incurred by a trading association that sought only pecuniary profit), was almost without one redeeming feature, and was a dishonour to the Netherlands' national name. In all things political it was purely despotic; in all things commercial, it was purely monopolist. The Dutch East India Company cared nought for the progress of the colony — provided only that they had a refreshment station for their richly laden fleets, and that the English, French, Danes and Portuguese had not. Whatever tended to infringe in the slightest degree on their darling monopoly was visited with the severest penalties, whether the culprit chanced to be high in rank or low. An instance of this, ludicrous while grossly tyrannical, is preserved in the records. Commander van Quaelbergen, the third of the Dutch governors of the colony, was dismissed from the government in 1667, and expelled the service of the company, because he had interchanged civilities with a French governor bound eastwards, the United Provinces being then at peace with France.
Of this nature was the foreign policy of the Dutch company at the Cape of Good Hope; modified, indeed, in some degree from time to time, but governed by principles of jealous, stringent monopoly until the surrender of the colony by Commissioner Sluysken in 1795. The internal government of the colonists for the entire duration of the East India Company's rule was always tyrannical, often oppressive in the extreme. With proclamations, placaats and statutes abundantly filling huge tomes, the caprice of the governor was in truth the law. A mockery of popular institutions, under the name of a burgher council, indeed existed; but this was a mere delusion, and must not be confounded with the system of local government by means of district burgher councils which that most able man, Commissioner de Mist, sought to establish during the brief government of the Batavian Republic from 1803 to 1806, when the Dutch nation, convinced and ashamed of the false policy by which they had permitted a mere money-making association to disgrace the Batavian name, and to entail degradation on what might have been a free and prosperous colony, sought to redeem their error by making this country a national colonial possession, instead of a slavish property, to be neglected, oppressed or ruined, as the caprice or avarice of its merchant owners might dictate.
- 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/South Africa
but in 1795 a number of burghers settled in the Swellendam and Graaf Reinet districts drove out the officials of the company and established independent governments. The rebellion was accompanied by an assertion of rights on the part of the burghers or freemen, which contained the following clause, the spirit of which animated many of the Trek Boers: —
That every Bushman or Hottentot, male or female, whether made prisoner by commanders or caught by individuals, as well in time past as in future, shall for life be the lawful property of such burghers as may possess them, and serve in bondage from generation to generation. And if such Hottentots should escape, the owner shall be entitled to follow them up and to punish them, according to their merits in his discretion.
And as to the ordinary Hottentot, already in service, brought up at the places of Christians, the children of these shall be compelled to serve until their twenty-fifth year, and may not go into the service of any other save with their master's consent; that no Hottentot, in future deserting his service shall be entitled to refuge or protection in any part of the colony, but that the authorities throughout the country shall immediately, whatever be the alleged cause of desertion, send back the fugitive to his master.
After one hundred and forty-three years the rule of the Dutch East India Company came to an end at the Cape. What its principles were we already have seen. Watermeyer recapitulates its effects as follows: —
The effects of this pseudo-colonization were that the Dutch, as a commercial nation, destroyed commerce. The most industrious race of Europe, they repressed industry. One of the freest states in the world, they encouraged a despotic misrule in which falsely-called free citizens were enslaved. These men, in their turn, became tyrants. Utter anarchy was the result. Some national feeling may have lingered, but, substantially, every man in the country, of every hue, was benehted when the incubus of the tyranny of the Dutch East India Company was removed.
- Encyclopædia Britannica Online Boer (people)
- Ransford, Oliver. The Great Trek. John Murray. Great Britain. 1972. Page 28.
- Meredith, Martin (2007). Diamonds, Gold, and War: The British, the Boers, and the Making of South Africa. Public Affairs. p. 74. ISBN 978-1-58648-473-6.
- Ransford, Oliver (1973). "13: Epilogue". The Great Trek. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- Ransford, Oliver (1973). "1: Trekboers". The Great Trek. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- Mills, Wallace G. "White Settlers in South Africa to 1870". Retrieved 2011-12-02.
- Calvinist Corner.[dead link]
- Yolandi Groenewald. Bang bang – you’re dead. Mail & Guardian Online.
- Dr. Tobias Louw. Open Letter to the Institute for Security Studies.
- The Sand River Convention.
- Yolandi Groenewald. Bang bang – you're dead. Mail & Guardian Online.
- Sandra Swart. Journal of Southern African Studies. 30.4, Dec 2004.
- Adriana Stuijt: former South African journalist. Boer, Afrikaner Or White – Which Are You? 2004.
- "Beweging vir Christelik Volkseie Onderwys". Retrieved 2011-12-01.
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