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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The influence of British traders on early Potchefstroom, 1852-1877
Author:Van den Bergh, G.N.ISNI
Periodical:Historia: amptelike orgaan (ISSN 0018-229X)
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:mercantile history
colonial history
Abstract:The economic influence of Potchefstroom (Transvaal, South Africa), within little more than a generation of the town's establishment in 1839, was phenomenal. By the late 1850s, it had become nothing less than the most important trading centre in the interior of Southern Africa. In this development foreign, and especially British, influence was to play the predominant role. In the beginning, fear of annexation by Britain resulted in strained economic relations between Transvaal Voortrekkers and the British colonies. At first, only indispensable trade was tolerated. Andries Pretorius, however, favoured broader trade with the colonial harbours. The Sand River Convention of 1852, whereby relations between the ZAR (Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek) and the colonies were normalized, facilitated this. This resulted in an immediate and extensive settlement of foreign, especially British, merchants with their families and staff in Potchefstroom. Trade boomed overnight to the advantage of all concerned, but centred on British initiative. Accustomed to municipal government in the Eastern Province, from where most of them came, the new merchants were instrumental in establishing a similar system in Potchefstroom from where it spread to the rest of the Transvaal. A number of the new residents were elected to the Volksraad in time. The foreign residents were also instrumental in establishing a variety of formal cultural movements, in which the Afrikaner community shared and which was emulated by them. Notes, ref., sum. in Afrikaans and English. [Journal abstract, edited]