1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Griqualand East and Griqualand West

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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 12
Griqualand East and Griqualand West
7334541911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 12 — Griqualand East and Griqualand West

GRIQUALAND EAST and GRIQUALAND WEST, territorial divisions of the Cape Province of the Union of South Africa. Griqualand East, which lies south of Basutoland and west of Natal, is so named from the settlement there in 1862 of Griquas under Adam Kok. It forms part of the Transkeian Territories of the Cape, and is described under Kaffraria. Griqualand West, formerly Griqualand simply, also named after its Griqua inhabitants, is part of the great tableland of South Africa. It is bounded S. by the Orange river, W. and N. by Bechuanaland, E. by the Transvaal and Orange Free State Province, and has an area of 15,197 sq. m. It has a general elevation of 3000 to 4000 ft. above the sea, low ranges of rocky hills, the Kaap, Asbestos, Vansittart and Langeberg mountains, traversing its western portion in a general N.E.-S.W. direction. The only perennial rivers are in the eastern district, through which the Vaal flows from a point a little above Fourteen Streams to its junction with the Orange (160 m.). In this part of its course the Vaal receives the Harts river from the north and the Riet from the east. The Riet, 4 m. within the Griqualand frontier, is joined by the Modder. The banks of the rivers are shaded by willows; elsewhere the only tree is the mimosa. The greater part of the country is barren, merging N.W. into absolute desert. The soil is, however, wherever irrigated, extremely fertile. The day climate is hot and dry, but the nights are frequently cold. Rain rarely falls, though thunderstorms of great severity occasionally sweep over the land, and sandstorms are prevalent in the summer. A portion of the country is adapted for sheep-farming and the growing of crops, horse-breeding is carried on at Kimberley, and asbestos is worked in the south-western districts, but the wealth of Griqualand West lies in its diamonds, which are found along the banks of the Vaal and in the district between that river and the Riet. From the first discovery of diamonds in 1867 up to the end of 1905 the total yield of diamonds was estimated at 131/2 tons, worth £95,000,000.

The chief town is Kimberley (q.v.), the centre of the diamond mining industry. It is situated on the railway from Cape Town to the Zambezi, which crosses the country near its eastern border. Three miles south of Kimberley is Beaconsfield (q.v.). On the banks of the Vaal are Barkly West (q.v.), Windsorton (pop. 800) and Warrenton (pop. 1500); at all these places are river diggings, diamonds being found along the river from Fourteen Streams to the Harts confluence. Warrenton is 44 m. N. by rail from Kimberley. Douglas (pop. 300), on the south bank of the Vaal, 12 m. above its confluence with the Orange, is the centre of an agricultural district, a canal 91/2 m. long serving to irrigate a considerable area. Thirty-five miles N.W. of Douglas is Griquatown (pop. 401), the headquarters of the first Griqua settlers. Campbell (pop. 250) is 30 m. E. of Griquatown, and Postmasburg 42 m. N. by W. A census taken in 1877 showed the population of Griqualand West to be 45,277, of whom 12,347 were whites. At the census of 1891 the population was 83,215, of whom 29,602 were whites, and in 1904 the population was 108,498, of whom 32,570 were whites.

History.—Before the settlement in it of Griqua clans the district was thinly inhabited by Bushmen and Hottentots. At the end of the 18th century a horde known as Bastaards, descendants of Dutch farmers and Hottentot women, led a nomadic life on the plains south of the Orange river. In 1803 a missionary named Anderson induced a number of the Bastaards with their chief Barend Barends to settle north of the river, and a mission station was formed at a place where there was a strong flowing fountain, which has now disappeared, which gave the name of Klaarwater to what is now known as Griquatown or Griquastad. Klaarwater became a retreat for other Bastaards, Hottentot refugees, Kaffirs and Bechuanas. From Little Namaqualand came a few half-breeds and others under the leadership of Adam Kok, son of Cornelius Kok and grandson of Adam Kok (c. 1710–1795), a man of mixed white and Hottentot blood who is regarded as the founder of the modern Griquas. The settlement prospered, and in 1813, at the instance of the Rev. John Campbell, who had been sent by the London Missionary Society to inspect the country, the tribesmen abandoned the name of Bastaards in favour of that of Griquas,[1] some of them professing descent from a Hottentot tribe, originally settled near Saldanha Bay, called by the early Dutch settlers at the Cape Chariguriqua or Grigriqua. Under the guidance of missionaries the Griquas made some progress in civilization, and many professed Christianity. Adam Kok and Barends having moved eastward in 1820, those who remained behind elected as their head man a teacher in the mission school named Andries Waterboer, who successfully administered the settlement, and by defeating the Makololo raiders greatly increased the prestige of the tribe. Meanwhile Adam Kok and his companions had occupied part of the country between the Modder and Orange rivers. In 1825 Kok settled at the mission station of Philippolis (founded two years previously), and in a short time had exterminated the Bushmen inhabiting that region. He died about 1835, and after a period of civil strife was succeeded by his younger son, Adam Kok III. This chief in November 1843 signed a treaty placing himself under British protection. Many Dutch farmers were settled on the land he claimed. In 1845 he received British military aid in a contest with the white settlers, and in 1848 helped the British under Sir Harry Smith against the Boers (see Orange Free State: History). Eventually finding himself straitened by the Boers of the newly established Orange Free State, he removed in 1861–1863 with his people, some 3000 in number, to the region (then depopulated by Kaffir wars) now known as Griqualand East. His sovereign rights to all territory north of the Orange he sold to the Free State for £4000. He founded Kokstad (q.v.) and died in 1876. Waterboer, the principal Griqua chief, had entered into treaty relations with the British government as early as 1834, and he received a subsidy of £150 a year. He proved a stanch ally of the British, and kept the peace on the Cape frontier to the day of his death in 1852. He was succeeded by his son Nicholas Waterboer, under whom the condition of the Griquas declined—a decline induced by the indolence of the people and intensified by the drying up of the water supplies, cattle plague and brandy drinking. During this period white settlers acquired farms in the country, and the loss of their independence by the Griquas became inevitable. The discovery of diamonds along the banks of the Vaal in 1867 entirely altered the fortunes of the country, and by the end of 1869 the rush to the alluvial diggings had begun. At the diggers’ camps the Griquas exercised no authority, but over part of the district the South African Republic and the Orange Free State claimed sovereignty. At Klip Drift (now Barkly West) the diggers formed a regular government and elected Theodore Parker as their president. Most of the diggers being British subjects, the high commissioner of South Africa interfered, and a Cape official was appointed magistrate at Klip Drift, President Parker resigning office in February 1871. At this time the “dry diggings,” of which Kimberley is the centre, had been discovered,[2] and over the miners there the Orange Free State asserted jurisdiction. The land was, however, claimed by Nicholas Waterboer, who, on the advice of his agent, David Arnot, petitioned the British to take over his country. This Great Britain consented to do, and on the 27th of October 1871 proclamations were issued by the high commissioner receiving Waterboer and his Griquas as British subjects and defining the limits of his territory. In addition to the Kimberley district this territory included that part of the diamondiferous area which had been claimed by the Transvaal, but which had been declared, as the result of the arbitration of R. W. Keate, lieutenant-governor of Natal, part of Waterboer’s land. On the 4th of November a small party of Cape Mounted Police took possession of the dry diggings and hoisted the British flag. Shortly afterwards the representative of the Orange Free State withdrew. The Free State was greatly incensed by the action of the British government, but the dispute as to the sovereignty was settled in 1876 by the payment of £90,000 by the British to the Free State as compensation for any injury inflicted on the state.

The diggers, who under the nominal rule of the Transvaal and Free State had enjoyed practical independence, found the new government did little for their benefit, and a period of disorder ensued, which was not put an end to by the appointment in January 1873 of Mr (afterwards Sir) Richard Southey[3] as sole administrator, in place of the three commissioners who had previously exercised authority. In the July following the territory was made a crown colony and Southey’s title changed to that of lieutenant-governor. The government remained unpopular, the diggers complaining of its unrepresentative character, the heavy taxation exacted, and the inadequate protection of property. They formed a society for mutual protection, and the discontent was so great that an armed force was sent (early in 1875) from the Cape to overawe the agitators. At the same time measures were taken to render the government more popular. The settlement of the dispute with the Free State paved the way for the annexation of Griqualand to the Cape Colony on the 15th of October 1880.

See Kimberley, Cape Colony, Transvaal and Orange Free State. For the early history of the country and an account of life at the diggings, 1871–1875, consult G. M‘Call Theal’s Compendium of the History and Geography of South Africa (London, 1878), chapters xl. and xli.; Gardner F. Williams, The Diamond Mines of South Africa (New York and London, 1902); and the works bearing on the subject quoted in that book. See also Theal’s History of South Africa . . . 1834–1854 (London, 1893); J. Campbell, Travels in South Africa (London, 1815), Travels . . . A Second Journey . . . (2 vols., London, 1822); the Blue Books C. 459 of 1871 and C. 508 of 1872 (the last-named containing the Keate award, &c.); the Griqualand West report in Papers relating to Her Majesty’s Colonial Possessions, part ii. (1875), and the Life of Sir Richard Southey, K.C.M.G., by A. Wilmot (London, 1904). For the Griqua people consult G. W. Stow, The Native Races of South Africa, chapters xvii.-xx. (London, 1905).

  1. The Griquas, as a distinct tribe, numbered at the Cape census of 1904 but 6289. They have largely intermarried with Kaffir and Bechuana tribes.
  2. The order of discovery of the chief mines was:—Dutoitspan, Sept. 1870; Bultfontein, Nov. 1870; De Beers, May 1871; Colesberg Kop (Kimberley), July 1871.
  3. Sir Richard Southey (1809–1901) was the son of one of the emigrants from the west of England to Cape Colony (1820). He organized and commanded a corps of Guides in the Kaffir war of 1834–35, and was with Sir Harry Smith at Boomplaats (1848). From 1864 to 1872 he was colonial secretary at the Cape. He gave up his appointment in Griqualand West in 1875, and lived thereafter in retirement. In 1891 he was created a K.C.M.G.