Cape Colony Letters

Scope and Content

Letters written from Cape Colony. Correspondents include Sir Henry Barkly, Robert Brooke, Sir William Eyre, George Macartney, Sir Rawson William Rawson and Sir Richard Southey.

Also included are 81 letters from Robert White to his uncle, Robert Godlonton, both partners in the firm of Godlonton, White & Co., printers, publishers and stationers of Graham's Town.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Cape of Good Hope (also called Cape Province) was formerly the largest of four traditional provinces in South Africa, occupying the southern extremity of the African continent. The first European settlement in southern Africa was established in 1652 by the Dutch East India Company at Table Bay (which became Cape Town). In 1806 Great Britain established control of the region. In 1814 the Dutch permanently ceded the Cape settlement to Britain and it was renamed the Cape of Good Hope Colony. The new British settlers clashed with the Dutch settlers precipitating the Great Trek (1835). The British attempt to incorporate Transvaal and Orange Free State into a single state with Natal and Cape Colony resulted in the South African War (1899-1902). In 1910 Cape Colony became a province of the Union of South Africa. From 1961, when it became a province in the Republic of South Africa, the Cape Colony was called the Cape Province. In ca.1994, Cape Province was split up into three new provinces - Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape.


The letters have been bound, mainly chronologically, into 2 volumes.

Access Information

Bodleian reader's ticket required.


Collection level description created by Marion Lowman, Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House.

Administrative/Biographical History compiled with reference to Philip's Encyclopedia(1999) and Encyclopaedia Britannica .

Other Finding Aids

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