'Slavery @ the Cape'

Timeline of Slavery @ the Cape - A Chronology of Slave Events
by Mogamat G Kamedien

* 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;
* 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
* 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;
* 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;
* 1803 : Dutch temporarily re-occupies the Cape of Good Hope
for a short three year stay.
* 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;
* 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
* 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
ÔCape ColouredÕ 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;
* 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
* 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
* 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.
* 1834 : Slavery is abolished in British colonies on 01
December, ÒliberatedÓ slaves now falls into the category of
Free Blacks , although the ÔfreedÓ slaves are forced to serve
an extended four year apprenticeship to make them Òfit for
freedomÓ ;
* 1834 : The Cape farmers faced prolonged weather conditions of
* 1834 : The Berlin Missionary Society established a mission at
* 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 governmentÕs
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;
* 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;