CAPE TOWN : A PORT CITY THAT SLAVES
Timeline of Slavery @ the Cape - A Chronology of Slave Events
FORMATION OF THE DUTCH EAST INDIA COMPANY –THE VOCDUTCH COLONIAL SOUTH AFRICA
1602 : Chamber Representatives of the Netherlands Parliament grants a founding charter to the Dutch East India Company to establish an Indian trading empire in the East;1ST BRITISH OCCUPATION 1652: The Dutch East India Company started a refreshment station at the Cape for its VOC shipping fleet on their way to East and/or on their return trips from Batavia[ i.e. present day Java as part of Indonesia] ; 1658 : The first shipload of slaves are brought to the Cape, from Angola on-board the ship, the Amersfoort; 1666 : Slaves built the Castle – Fort Good Hope; 1679 : Foundations are laid for the Company Slave Lodge; 1693 : Slaves at the Cape outnumber free people for the first time. They are mainly from around the Indian Ocean – Mocambique, Madagascar, Mauritius; 1717 : VOC decides to retain the institution of slavery as the main labour system for the Cape; 1725 : Evidence that runaway slaves have been living at the mountainous Hangklip for extensive periods, between Gordons Bay and Kleinmond/Hermanus; 1738 : The Moravian Church started their first mission station at Baviaans-kloof, now known as Genadendal in the Swellendam district; 1754 : The governor, Tulbagh consolidated the numerous VOC slave regulations into a single placaaten, the CAPE SLAVE CODE; 1754 : A census taken of the Cape colony at the time showed the two populations, both slaves and settlers to be roughly equal to about 6000 each. 1792 : The Moravian Missionary Society re-established their first mission station, Genadendal in the Swellendam district;
SECOND DUTCH RE-OCCUPATION : THE BATAVIAN REPUBLIC
- 1795 : The British takes over control of the Cape and remain in charge throughout the 19th century ;
- 1796 : The British outlaws torture and some of the most brutal forms of capital punishments;
2ND BRITISH OCCUPATION : BRITISH SOUTH AFRICA
- 1803 : Dutch temporarily re-occupies the Cape of Good Hope for a short three year stay.
1ST SLAVE REBELLION
- 1806 : Company slaves are released from the Slave Lodge under rule of the then Governor, the Earl of Caledon;
- 1806 : Mission station at Groene-kloof [Mamre] near Malmesbury. This former military outpost on the farm, Louwplaas was offered by the British government to the Moravian Missionary Society for the establishment of a mission station. There are more than 5 000 people living at Mamre today;
- 1807 : The British outlaws the Trans-Indian Oceanic slave trade. It was now illegal to be a slave trader buying or selling slaves , but it was still legal to own slaves. Prohibition on the importation of overseas slaves resulted in increasing the exchange value of Cape born Creole slaves;
2ND SLAVE REBELLION
- 1808 : the Koeberg slave rebellion in the Swartland near Malmesbury, led by Louis of Mauritius, is defeated at Salt River. Resulted in the capturing of 300 farm slaves as dissidents;
- 1812 : The London Missionary Society was invited by the leader of the local Khoi i.e. the Attaquas tribe to establish a mission station. Thus the mission station, Zuurbraak was established at the foot of Tradouw Pass.
- 1812 : The London Missionary Society sponsored missionary , Rev Charles Pacalt who established this small mission station a few miles south of George. Pacaltsdorp, presently a vibrant ‘Cape Coloured’ town outside George in the Southern Cape.
- 1813 : Het Gesticht, the fourth oldest church building in South Africa and erected in 1813 by the inhabitants of Paarl as a meeting house for non-Christian slaves and heathen in the town. The Paarl Missionary Society took over the administration of Het Gesticht. It has been proclaimed a National Monument, and serves nowadays as a museum for the South African Mission Foundation.
- 1823 : The British House of Commons discusses the conditions of slaves at the Cape of Good Hope by appointing a parliamentary commission of enquiry due to relentless pressure of the Anti-Slavery Abolitionists lobby;
- 1825 : Appointment of two Crown Commissioners, visiting the Cape of Good Hope including the various mission settlements;
SLAVE AMELIORISATION LAWS
- 1825 : A second slave uprising at the farm, Hou-den-Bek, led by Galant van die Kaap, is defeated in the Koue Bokkeveld, near Ceres;
- 1826 : Collapse of the Cape wine industry;
- 1826 : The Colonial Office intervened by forcing local colonial assemblies to bring the local amelioration legislation such Ordinance 19 of 1826 promulgated at the Cape, into line with the Trinidad Order aimed at the sugar plantation slave owners. Thus the British introduced ameliorisation laws in order to improve the living conditions of slaves as well as a a series of practical ameliorisation measures to make punishments less cruel, and the Office of the Protector of Slaves is established with Assistant Slave Protectors in rural towns and villages away from Cape Town.
- 1826 : Appointment of the Guardian of the Slaves;
- 1827 : Coloured Persons qualified for the municipal franchise of Cape Town, and a Malay property owner was elected as Wardmaster;
- 1828 : Ordinance 50 of 1828 liberated Khoisan into the category on par with Free Blacks and placed all Free Black persons i.e. both Hottentot and Vrye Swartes on equal legal footing with White colonists within the judiciary system;
- 1828 : The two Rhenish missionaries, J G Leipoldt and T. von Wurmb jointly bought a farm Rietmond on the Tratra River in the Cedarberg District. The Rhenish Missionary Society started several industries, including the well-known shoe making factory at the Wupperthal mission station.
- 1830 : Revised provisions of Ordinance 19 by the British Parliament resulted in the renamed Office of the Protector of Slaves;
- 1830 : Slave owners ordered to keep records of slave punishments;
- 1831 : Stellenbosch slave owners rioted by refusing to accept this order to keep registers of slave punishments;
- 1832 : More than 2000 slave owners assembled in Cape Town to hold a protest meeting demonstrating against this government order which was adopted without proper consultation;
- 1833 : The Rhenish Mission Society ensured that a mission chapel was built and completed in 1833. As a result the Headquarters of the Rhenish Mission Society relocated from Steinthal near Tulbach to Worcester.
END OF SLAVE APPRENTICESHIP PERIOD
- 1834 : Slavery is abolished in British colonies on 01 December, “liberated” slaves now falls into the category of Free Blacks , although the ‘freed” slaves are forced to serve an extended four year apprenticeship to make them “fit for freedom” ;
- 1834 : The Cape farmers faced prolonged weather conditions of drought;
- 1834 : The Berlin Missionary Society established a mission at Bethanie;
- 1835 : Ordinance No. 1 of 1835 – introduced the terms of apprenticeship at the Cape, including the appointment of special magistrates;
- 1836 : Start of the Great Trek by 12 000 frontier farmers, who demonstrated their unhappiness about the government’s policy to release slaves from the control of Free Burghers as slaveholders;
- 1836 : Non-whites were finally accorded similar treatment like White colonists in their interaction with the public institutions of the local authorities;
CAPE ‘MASTERS & SERVANTS’ LABOUR LEGISLATION
- 1838 : End of slave apprenticeships;
- 1838 : About 39 000 slaves are freed on Emancipation Day, 1 December 1838;
- Only 1,2 million pounds paid out against the original estimated compensation amount of 3 milion pounds which were initially set aside by the British government in compensation monies for the about 1 300 affected slaveholding farmers at the Cape Good Hope;
- 1838 : On the day of the actual release of slave apprentices, there was a three day rainy period which was followed by an extremely wet winter season which led to wide scale flooding across the Cape Colony;
- 1839 : The Moravian Missionary Society acquired the farm, Vogelstruyskraal near Cape Agulhas in the Caledon District. The newly established mission station was named Elim. Today, the town of Elim has a population of 2000 inhabitants;
- 1841 : Masters and Servants Ordinance regularising and criminalizing labour relationships between employer and employee in favour of the former slave masters based on the past CAPE SLAVE CODES originally issued by the VOC as Placaaten of India;
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