Home HISTORY FORM 2 Motives of the Dutch settlement at the Cape

Motives of the Dutch settlement at the Cape

  • The need to control Indian Ocean trade which was dominated by the Portuguese
  • The need to establish farms
  • Favourable climatic conditions
  • Availability of raw materials for trade

The impact of the Dutch settlement at the Cape.

Enslavement of Africans: The Dutch East India Company provided slaves from West
Africa and West India to provide labour for their plantations and livestock. Boers had established
large plantations where they kept animals and grew crops like potatoes, watermelon, pumpkins,
pineapple and cucumbers.
 Displacement of African people: Africans were forced to move from their normal
productive areas to unproductive areas. Hence the Dutch displaced the native Africans from the
fertile areas and took their livestock by force.
 Social segregation: The Dutch thought themselves superior to Africans, they exploited
and mistreated Africans as they were regarded as stupid,uncivilised and faithless thus, laying the
foundation of racial segregation.
 Expansion of Europeans settlement: Dutch activities led other Europeans like British and
French to come to South Africa. However, the Dutch population grew dramatically, for example
in 1652 Van Riebeeck arrived at the Cape with a few people, by 1662 the Dutch community had
grown to 120 people and in 1685 the population increased to 150 Dutch families.

The increase of warfare: There were frequent wars between the Africans and the Dutch
because the Dutch wanted to rule the Africans and take their land while the Africans demanded
freedom. 1779 to 1781, 1789 to 1793 and 1799 to1803 there were Kaffir wars between the Dutch
and the Xhosa.
 Introduction of a new culture: The Dutch introduced a new culture to the Africans and
ignored the indigenous culture. For example the new language known as Afrikaans based on the
Dutch language and some words from other languages like Portuguese and Khoikhoi languages
was born.

Slave Trade in the Indian Ocean Sea-Board and Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

Slave trade in east Africa.
Slave trade refers to the selling and buying of human beings as commodities. Africa experienced
two types of slave trade.

1. The Indian Ocean slave trade which was conducted by Asians.
2. The Trans Atlantic Ocean slave trade conducted by European merchants.

Main peoples involved:
  • Arab traders
  • European merchants
  • African chiefs e.g. Mirambo and Nyungu ya Mawe
  • The Nyamwezi
  • The Kamba
  • The Yao
  • Baganda
  • Banyoro
  • Khartoumers


Expansion of the Indian Ocean slave trade.

Slavery was practiced since ancient times in Africa. In East Africa slavery was introduced during
trade contacts with the Middle East and Far East as early as 2 AD. However slavery was only
practiced on a small scale. Slaves were used as farm laborers, domestic servants, guards or
soldiers but they were also entitled to some rights. Furthermore slave trade expanded in East
Africa during the 18th century.

Reasons for the expansion of slave trade in East Africa during the
18th century.

  • Great demands for slaves as soldiers and domestic servants in the Muslim nations of
    Arabia. Thus the slaves had to come from non Muslim regions like the interior of East Africa.
    There were major slave markets in Zanzibar, Bagamoyo, Pemba, Kilwa,Mikindani and
  • Slaves were needed as porters, they ferried goods such as ivory and gold from theinterior
    of Africa to the coast, especially to the American, Indian and British traders whotook part in it.
  • Portuguese slave traders supplied slaves to the Portuguese coffee and sugar plantations in
    Brazil. In the first half of 18th century Portuguese expanded their plantations. So their source of
    slaves in West Africa and Mozambique became inadequate hence they came in East Africa.
  • High demand for slave labour in French sugar plantations in Mauritius and Reunion
    Island. Initially the French depended slaves fro Mozambique but by the 1770s the demand
    exceeded supply as a result the French came further North to East Africa in search of slaves.

Ways/techniques of obtaining slaves.

  • Caravans organised by local chiefs: The local chief sold domestic slaves in exchange for
    goods like beads, guns and glass. E.g. Mirambo and Isike of Nyamwezi, Nyungu yaMawe of the
    Kimbu, Machemba of the Yao, Kabaka Mutesa of Buganda and Mkwawa ofthe Hehe.
  • Selling of criminals, debtors, tax offenders and social misfits in society by the local
    chiefsto the Arab slave traders.
  • Prisoners of war could be sold off especially after inter-community wars.
  • Porters were sometimes kidnapped, transported and sold off to the Arab traders
  • Raiding villages or weak communities: This would begin at night with gun shots and
    people would scatter consequently leading to their capture.
  • Through inter tribe wars many African became destitute and these would be captured by
    the slave traders
  • Ambush, they were captured through ambushes during hunting, travelling and gardening.
  • Slaves were acquired from the main slave trade market in Zanzibar
  • Other Africans are also said to have gone voluntarily in anticipation of great wonders and
    benefits from the Arab Swahili traders.



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