About Cape Town - a touch of history and cultural contrasts
This page is Part 1. Part 2 is here: City of Cape Town
Find out about what to do in our city here: Cape Town Holiday Ideas
Here are some photos I've taken around the city and surrounding areas:
Cape Town Pictures
Cape Town is situated on the south western tip of the African continent, in one of the most beautiful natural locations in the world.
Many of us locals forget that the original inhabitants of the region were the Khoi San people. Their ancestry can be traced back thousands of years, through the discovery of fossils and artifacts, to the origins of humanity in Central Africa.
The "Mother City" as we have become known over the years was the first South African port established by European settlers in the 16th century.
Dutch sailors working for the VOC - Dutch East India Company set up a refreshment station at the Cape. They also established the Company Gardens in the city which was used to provide passing ships on route to the West Indies with fresh produce. The gardens still exist, have been stocked with exotic plants and trees and are now a place of relaxation for us Capetonians.
Early Culture and languageWant to know more about Cape Town? Here's a comprehensive travel guide: Cape Town Travel Guide
The first slaves were brought in to the growing city from Madagascar in the 17th century to help run the refreshment station. This immigration continued until 1834 and was expanded to include slaves from African countries such as Angola and Mozambique, the West Indies and Sri Lanka.
Various languages were spoken in those early days but the most predominant was Malay. Gradually the Afrikaans language, a simplified form of Dutch containing elements of Malay and originally used for communicating with their masters, developed among the slaves. Afrikaans spread inland throughout South Africa when descendants of Cape Dutch and French settlers trekked north with their ox wagons to colonise the interior and eventually establish the Afrikaner nation.
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The Cape Malay people of today with their unique Muslim cultural heritage, and the Christian 'coloured' community descended from mixed blood unions between the early settlers, the indigenous Khoi and the slaves who brought their different cultures into the region.
In the 17th century British settlers arrived and annexed the Cape declaring it a British Colony. They developed the city using slave labour. Slavery was eventually abolished in the 19th century.
The British went on to develop and colonise South Africa. Elements of their influence in the Cape are still visble in the architecture of many buildings in the surrounding coastal towns eg. Simonstown
Read more about our history here: Cape Town History
For information about some of the most relevant pages on this site: click here
Trying to find your way around? Here's a useful map page
For more useful information go to my Cheap Flights page.
This is the end of Part 1 of this information article.
Part 2 is here: City of Cape Town
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