Open main menu
This page has been validated.
225
CAPE COAST—CAPE COLONY

Cod-fishing formed the staple industry, and a large contraband trade in French wines, brandy and sugar, was carried on with the English colonies to the south. In 1745 it was captured by a force of volunteers from New England, under Sir William Pepperell (1696–1759) aided by a British fleet under Commodore Warren (1703–1752). By the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, the town was restored to France; but in 1758 was again captured by a British force under General Sir Jeffrey Amherst and Admiral Boscawen. On the conclusion of hostilities the island was ceded to England by the treaty of Paris; and on the 7th of October 1763 it was united by royal proclamation to the government of Nova Scotia. In 1784 it was separated from Nova Scotia, and a new capital founded at the mouth of the Spanish river by Governor Desbarres, which received the name of Sydney in honour of Lord Sydney (Sir Thomas Townshend), then secretary of state for the colonies. There was immediately a considerable influx of settlers to the island, which received another important accession by the immigration of Scottish Highlanders from 1800 to 1828. In 1820, in spite of strong opposition, it was again annexed to Nova Scotia. Since then, its history has been uneventful, chiefly centring in the development of the mining industry.

Bibliography.—Historical: Richard Brown, A History of the Island of Cape Breton (1869), and Sir John Bourinot, Historical and Descriptive Account of Cape Breton (1892), are both excellent. See also Denys, Description géogr. et hist. des côtes de l’Amérique septentrionale (1672); Pichon, Lettres et mémoires du Cap Bréton (1760). General: Reports of Geological Survey, 1872 to 1882–1886, and 1895 to 1899 (by Robb, H. Fletcher and Faribault); H. Fletcher, The Sydney Coal Fields, Cape Breton, N.S. (1900); Richard Brown, The Coal Fields of Cape Breton (1871; reprinted, 1899).

CAPE COAST, a port on the Gold Coast, British West Africa, in 5° 5′ N., 1° 13′ W., about 80 m. W. of Accra. Pop. (1901) 28,948, mostly Fantis. There are about 100 Europeans and a colony of Krumen. The town is built on a low bank of gneiss and micaceous slate which runs out into the sea and affords some protection at the landing-place against the violence of the surf. (This bank was the Cabo Corso of the Portuguese, whence the English corruption of Cape Coast.) The castle faces the sea and is of considerable size and has a somewhat imposing appearance. Next to the castle, used as quarters for military officers and as a prison, the principal buildings are the residence of the district commissioner, the churches and schools of various denominations, the government schools and the colonial hospital. Many of the wealthy natives live in brick-built residences. The streets are hilly, and the town is surrounded on the east and north by high ground, whilst on the west is a lagoon. Fort Victoria lies west of the town, and Fort William (used as a lighthouse) on the east.

The first European settlement on the spot was that of the Portuguese in 1610. In 1652 the Swedes established themselves here and built the castle, which they named Carolusburg. In 1659 the Dutch obtained possession, but the castle was seized in 1664 by the English under Captain (afterwards Admiral Sir) Robert Holmes, and it has not since been captured in spite of an attack by De Ruyter in 1665, a French attack in 1757, and various assaults by the native tribes. Next to Elmina it was considered the strongest fort on the Guinea Coast. Up to 1876 the town was the capital of the British settlements on the coast, the administration being then removed to Accra. It is still one of the chief ports of the Gold Coast Colony, and from it starts the direct road to Kumasi. In 1905 it was granted municipal government. In the courtyard of the castle are buried George Maclean (governor of the colony 1830–1843) and his wife (Laetitia Elizabeth Landon). The graves are marked by two stones bearing respectively the initials “L. E. L.” and “G. M.” The land on the east side of the town is studded with disused gold-diggers’ pits. The natives are divided into seven clans called companies, each under the rule of recognized captains and possessing distinct customs and fetish.

See A. Ffoulkes, “The Company System in Cape Coast Castle,” in Jnl. African Soc. vol. vii., 1908; and Gold Coast.

CAPE COLONY (officially, “Province of the Cape of Good Hope”), the most southern part of Africa, a British possession since 1806. It was named from the promontory on its south-west coast discovered in 1488 by the Portuguese navigator Diaz, and near which the first settlement of Europeans (Dutch) was made in 1652. From 1872 to 1910 a self-governing colony, in the last-named year it entered the Union of South Africa as an original province. Cape Colony as such then ceased to exist. In the present article, however, the word “colony” is retained. The “provinces” referred to are the colonial divisions existing before the passing of the South Africa Act 1909, except in the sections Constitution and Government and Law and Justice, where the changes made by the establishment of the Union are set forth. (See also South Africa.)

Boundaries and Area.—The coast-line extends from the mouth of the Orange (28° 38′ S. 16° 27′ E.) on the W. to the mouth of the Umtamvuna river (31° 4′ S. 30° 12′ E.) on the E., a distance of over 1300 m. Inland the Cape is bounded E. and N.E. by Natal, Basutoland, Orange Free State and the Transvaal; N. by the Bechuanaland Protectorate and N.W. by Great Namaqualand (German S.W. Africa). From N.W. to S.E. the colony has a breadth of 800 m., from S.W. to N.E. 750 m. Its area is 276,995 sq. m.—more than five times the size of England. Walfish Bay (q.v.) on the west coast north of the Orange river is a detached part of Cape Colony.

Physical Features.—The outstanding orographic feature of the country is the terrace-formation of the land, which rises from sea-level by well-marked steps to the immense plateau which forms seven-eighths of South Africa. The coast region varies in width from a few miles to as many as fifty, being narrowest on the south-east side. The western coast line, from the mouth of the Orange to the Cape peninsula, runs in a general south-east direction with no deep indentations save just south of 33° S. where, in Saldanha Bay, is spacious and sheltered anchorage. The shore is barren, consisting largely of stretches of white sand or thin soil sparsely covered with scrub. The Cape peninsula, which forms Table Bay on the north and False Bay on the south, juts pendant beyond the normal coast line and consists of an isolated range of hills. The scenery here becomes bold and picturesque. Dominating Table Bay is the well-known Table Mountain (3549 ft.), flat-topped and often covered with a “tablecloth” of cloud. On its lower slopes and around Table Bay is built Cape Town, capital of the colony. Rounding the storm-vexed Cape of Good Hope the shore trends south-east in a series of curves, forming shallow bays, until at the saw-edged reefs of Cape Agulhas (Portuguese, Needles) in 34° 51′ 15″ S. 20° E. the southernmost point of the African continent is reached. Hence the coast, now very slightly indented, runs north by east until at Algoa Bay (25° 45′ E.) it takes a distinct north-east bend, and so continues beyond the confines of the colony. Along the southern and eastern shore the country is better watered, more fertile and more picturesque than along the western seaboard. Cape Point (Cape of Good Hope) stands 840 ft. above the sea; Cape Agulhas 455 ft. Farther on the green-clad sides of the Uiteniquas Mountains are plainly visible from the sea, and as the traveller by boat proceeds eastward, stretches of forest are seen and numbers of mountain streams carrying their waters to the ocean. In this part of the coast the only good natural harbour is the spacious estuary of the Knysna river in 23° 5′ E. The entrance, which is over a bar with 14 ft. minimum depth of water, is between two bold sandstone cliffs, called the Heads.

Off the coast are a few small islands, mainly mere rocks within the bay. None is far from the mainland. The largest are Dassen Island, 20 m. S. of Saldanha Bay, and Robben Island, at the entrance to Table Bay. St Croix is a rock in Algoa Bay, upon which Diaz is stated to have erected a cross. A number of small islands off the coast of German South-West Africa, chiefly valuable for their guano deposits, also belong to Cape Colony (see Angra Pequena).

Ocean Currents.—Off the east and south shores of the colony the Mozambique or Agulhas current sweeps south-westward with force sufficient to set up a back drift. This back drift or