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Die relatiewe welvaart van die vroee Kaapse setlaars

Fourie, Johan (2012-08)

CITATION: Fourie, J. 2012. Die relatiewe welvaart van die vroee Kaapse setlaars. LitNet Akademies, 9(2):442-467.

The original publication is available at http://www.litnet.co.za

Article

Die tradisionele beskouing van die 18de-eeuse Kaapkolonie as ’n armoedige bestaansekonomie moet heroorweeg word. Deur van 2 577 onlangs gedigitaliseerde boedelinventarisse gebruik te maak, toon hierdie artikel dat die gemiddelde Kaapse setlaarshuishouding relatief welaf was aan die begin van die 18de eeu en dat hierdie rykdomvlakke oor tyd toegeneem het, al het dit ook gepaard gegaan met ’n toename in ongelykheid binne die setlaarsbevolking. Kaapse setlaarshuishoudings kon selfs kers vashou met huishoudings in streke wat gedurende die 18de eeu as die mees welvarende beskou is – Nederland en Engeland.

This article investigates the relative wealth of the settlers of the Dutch Cape Colony, a settlement founded in 1652 by the Dutch East India Company to supply refreshments to the ships passing between Europe and the East Indies. The stereotypical view of the Cape Colony is that of an impoverished society, with only a few landowners able to maintain a living standard above subsistence level. Aside from those fortunate to be granted monopoly contracts by the Company to supply the growing demand for wine, wheat and meat from the passing ships, most settler households, at least towards the end of the 18th century, lived a scanty, pastoral lifestyle in the interior, devoid of the luxuries offered by the proximity of the market in Cape Town.

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