The Cape of Good Hope was originally established in the 1600’s by the Dutch as a base where ships travelling to the Far East could be supplied. Gradually the Dutch colony in South Africa expanded and in 1688, French Huguenots arrived fleeing religious persecution. Slowly the native people were driven from their land and in 1713 many died in a smallpox epidemic.
In 1795 the British captured Cape Colony, handed it back to the Dutch in 1803 but took it again in 1806. In 1814 a treaty confirmed British ownership of Cape Colony and British settlers began to arrive. The Boers (Dutch settlers) in South Africa resented British rule and eventually began a mass migration away from the British called the Great Trek. In 1838 the Boers fought and defeated the Zulus at the battle of Blood River and eventually founded two republics, Orange Free State and Transvaal. In the 1850s the British recognized the two Boer republics. The situation changed, however, in 1867 when diamonds were found in Northern Cape. Increasingly the British were determined to bring all of South Africa, including the Boer republics under their control. The British begin expanding their control where Lesotho became a protectorate in 1884 and the Kingdom of Swaziland in 1894.
Meanwhile British settlers were moving into the into the Transvaal Republic, the British plotted with the settlers an 1895 rebellion, which was supported militarily. The Boer Republics allied together and captured the troops supported by the British and squashed the rebellion. Finally in October 1899 war began in South Africa between the Boers and the British. At first the Boers were successful but in 1900 more British troops arrived and the Boers were pushed back. The Boers then turned to guerrilla warfare. However Kitchener, the British commander began herding Boer women and children into concentration camps where more than 20,000 of them died of disease.
The Boers finally surrendered in 1902 and the British annexed the Boer republics. In 1910 a United South Africa was given a constitution. It became known as the Union of South Africa.
Region: Southern/Eastern Africa
Subdivision: South Africa Area
Classification: Colony (British)
First Stamp Issue: 1 Sept, 1853
End: 1910 (Union of South Africa)
Scott Catalogue: Cape of Good Hope #1-71