- CAPE COLONY
- (1,527), comprises the extremity of the African continent south of the Orange River and Natal, and is nearly twice the size of the United Kingdom; the Nieuwveld Berge, running E. and W., divides the country into two slopes, the northern slope long and gradual to the Orange River, the southern shorter and terraced to the sea; two-thirds of the country is arid plain, which, however, only requires irrigation to render it very fertile; the climate is dry and healthy, but hot in summer; the prevalent vegetation is heath and bulbous plants. Sheep and ostrich farming are the chief industries; wool, goats' hair, ostrich feathers, hides, diamonds from Kimberley and copper from Namaqualand are the chief exports; two-thirds of the people are of African race, chiefly Kaffirs, who flourish under British rule; the remainder are of Dutch, English, French, and German origin; Cape Town is the capital, Kimberley and Port Elizabeth the only other large towns, but there are many small towns; roads are good; railway and telegraph communication is rapidly developing. The government is in the hands of a governor, appointed by the crown, assisted by an executive council of five and a parliament of two houses; local government is in vogue all over the country; education is well cared for; the university of the Cape of Good Hope was founded in 1873. Discovered by the Portuguese Diaz in 1486, the Cape was taken possession of by the Dutch in 1652, from whom it was captured by Great Britain in 1805. Various steps towards self-government culminated in 1872. In recent years great tracts to the N. have been formally taken under British protection, and the policy of extending British sway from the Cape to Cairo is explicitly avowed.
The Nuttall Encyclopaedia. James Wood. 1907.