- Title: Cape Conflict: Protest and Political Alliances in a Dutch Settlement
- Author: Teun Baartman
- Publisher: UCT Press
- Country of Origin: South Africa
- Publication Year: 2019
- ISBN: 97817758222561
- Bib. Info: Paperback (1st Edition); 217pp
The Cape of Good Hope was a Dutch settlement from 1652 until 1795. Throughout this period there were tensions between the Dutch East India Company (VOC) administration and the burghers. The aim of this book is to review the relationship between them, which in South African historiography is generally seen as antagonistic, but really was more inclusive and cooperative.
The author places Cape colonial society in a wider Dutch context and closely examines the relationship between the Cape and United Provinces through comparing the political structures, institutions and dynamics of the Dutch Republic and its overseas settlement. He shows that over time intimate connections came about between Company administrators and burghers, which were fashioned in much the same way as regent families in the Dutch Republic formed political factions.
The political conflict that played out at the Cape in the later eighteenth century is used as a case study to test the claim above and confirm that the conflict was not one between burghers and government per se but rather a fight for power between factions within the ruling elite consisting of both VOC officials and burghers.
This book offers new evidence, new interpretations and a new narrative on well-known events in Cape history. It tackles the limited portrayal of Cape political conflict as one between an oppressive VOC regime and a group of perpetual burgher underdogs. By making a broader comparison and placing events in a wider Dutch context it shows that Cape residents in the middle and upper layers of society took their cues from the Dutch political world. This book offers a better explanation of where burghers came from, what their position was, and how the Cape political world operated. It will further demonstrate that Cape burghers were less aggrieved than they have been depicted, and that they were able to influence policies in their favour by using the means available to them according to the Dutch tradition of politics.