Western Cape in History

Western Cape: Cape Town

Historical Events


Historic DiscoveryCape Colony Founded

1652-04-06 Cape Colony, the 1st European settlement in South Africa, established by Dutch East India Company under Jan van Riebeeck

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Jan van Riebeeck arrives in Table Bay
Jan van Riebeeck arrives in Table Bay
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  • 1806-01-08 Battle of Blaauwberg: British forces attack French vassal, the Batavian Republic near Cape Town, modern day South Africa
  • 1856-07-15 Natal forms as a British colony separate from Cape Colony
  • 1877-03-12 Great Britain annexes Walvis Bay at Cape colony, Southern Africa.
  • 1879-07-04 Africaner Union forms by Rev SJ du Toit at Cape colony

Event of interestEvent of Interest

1890-07-17 Cecil Rhodes becomes Premier of Cape Colony

British Businessman and Imperialist Politician Cecil Rhodes
British Businessman and Imperialist Politician
Cecil Rhodes
  • 1895-11-11 Bechuanaland becomes part of Cape Colony
  • 1896-01-06 Cecil Rhodes resigns as premier of Cape colony
  • 1899-11-23 Battle at Belmont, Cape colony: general Methuen beats Farmers
  • 1899-11-25 Battle at Graspan, Cape colony: General Methuen beats Farmers
  • 1900-05-17 British troops relieve Mafeking (Cape Colony)
  • 1900-12-16 Boer army under gen Kritzinger take Cape colony
  • 1901-08-12 Boer general Kritzinger driven out of Cape colony
  • 1901-08-20 The Fawcett Commission visits Mafeking concentration camp in Cape Colony
  • 1901-09-03 Boer General Smuts enters Kiba Drift in Cape Colony
  • 1909-09-20 The British Parliament passes the South Africa Act; it calls for union of Cape Colony, Natal, Orange River Colony, and Transvaal; and both English and Dutch as official languages
  • 1938-08-08 Great Trek Centenary Celebrations commence; the Great Trek was a migration involving Boers leaving the Cape Colony and settling in the interior of South Africa
  • 2017-05-22 South Africa's Western Cape province declares a drought disaster - worst for 113 years

Famous Birthdays

  • 1619-04-21 Jan van Riebeeck, Dutch colonial administrator and founder of Cape Colony (Cape Town), born in Culemborg (d. 1677)
  • 1639-10-14 Simon van der Stel, 1st governor of Dutch Cape Colony (1679-99), born in Indian Ocean en route to Mauritius (d. 1712)
  • 1762-10-12 Jan Willem Janssens, Dutch Governor-General of Cape colony and Dutch-Indies, born in Nijmegen, Netherlands (d. 1838)
  • 1792-12-19 [Andries] Hendrik Potgieter, Cape Colony, settled Transvaal
  • 1819-09-17 Marthinus Wessels Pretorius, 1st president of the Republic South Africa, born in Graaff Reinet, Cape Colony (d. 1901)

Person of interestPaul Kruger

1825-10-10 Paul Kruger, 3rd President of South African Republic (1883-1900) and face of Boer resistance during the Second Boer War, born in Steynsburg, Cape Colony (d. 1904)

3rd President of the South African Republic Paul Kruger
3rd President of the South African Republic
Paul Kruger
  • 1844-10-05 Francis William Reitz, 5th State President of the Orange Free State, born in Swellendam, Cape Colony (d. 1934)
  • 1853-02-09 Leander Starr Jameson, Prime Minister of South African Cape colony

Person of interestCecil Rhodes

1853-07-05 Cecil Rhodes, British businessman, diamond merchant and imperialist politician who was Prime Minister of the Cape Colony (1890-96), born in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, England (d. 1902)

British Businessman and Imperialist Politician Cecil Rhodes
British Businessman and Imperialist Politician
Cecil Rhodes
  • 1854-03-23 Alfred Milner, Giessen Germany, British governor (Cape colony)

Person of interestJ. B. M. Hertzog

1866-04-03 J. B. M. Hertzog [Barry Hertzog], South African General and Prime Minister (1924-39), born in Wellington, South Africa (d. 1942)

South African Premier J. B. M. Hertzog
South African Premier
J. B. M. Hertzog
  • 1870-05-24 Jan Christiaan Smuts, Prime Minister of South Africa and proponent of Commonwealth & League of Nations, born in Bovenplaats, Cape Colony (d. 1950)
  • 1870-06-24 Horatio Mbelle, South African interpreter, community leader and politician, born in Burgersdorp, Cape Colony (d. 1947)
  • 1874-05-22 Daniel Fran├žois Malan, Prime Minister of South Africa (1948-54) who began the implementation of apartheid, born in Riebeek-Wes, Cape Colony (d. 1959)
  • 1876-04-14 Murray Bisset, South African cricketer (South African wicket-keeper 1899 & 1910), born in Port Elizabeth, Cape Colony (d. 1931)
  • 1879-08-07 Johannes Kotze, South African cricket fast bowler (1902-07), born in Berg River, Cape Colony (d. 1931)
  • 1901-12-26 Victor Hely-Hutchinson, British composer (Carol Symphony), born in Cape Town, Cape Colony (d. 1947)
  • 1913-06-13 Etienne Leroux, Afrikaans author (Een vir Azazel), born in Oudtshoorn, Western Cape (d. 1989)
  • 1914-08-07 Ted Moore, South African-British cinematographer (James Bond), born in Western Cape, South Africa (d. 1987)
  • 1931-03-08 Neil Adcock, South African cricket fast bowler (26 Tests, 104 wickets @ 21.10), born in Cape Town, Western Cape (d. 2013)
  • 1931-08-02 Eddie Fuller, South African cricketer (South African fast bowler in 7 Tests 1952-58), born in Worcester, Western Cape, South Africa (d. 2008)
  • 1979-12-16 Trevor Immelman, South African golfer (US Masters 2008), born in Cape Town, Western Cape

Famous Deaths

  • 1677-01-18 Jan van Riebeeck, Dutch founder of Cape Colony (Cape Town), dies at 57
  • 1712-06-24 Simon van der Stel, 1st governor of Dutch Cape Colony (1679-99), dies at 72
  • 1723-07-01 Willem van de Pose, Governor of Cape Colony (1699-1797), dies at about 59
  • 1838-05-23 Jan Willem Janssens, Dutch Governor-General of Cape colony and Dutch-Indies, dies at 75

Person of interestCecil Rhodes

1902-03-26 Cecil Rhodes, British businessman, diamond merchant and imperialist politician who was Prime Minister of the Cape Colony (1890-96), dies of heart failure at 48

British Businessman and Imperialist Politician Cecil Rhodes
British Businessman and Imperialist Politician
Cecil Rhodes
  • 1925-05-12 Alfred Milner, British governor (Cape Colony) and colonial administrator, dies at 71