Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/481

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General Features]
South Africa

coolies brought to Natal since 1860. The white races represented are mainly Dutch and British; colonization by European races dating from the 17th century. There are a few thousand Germans and Portuguese, chiefly in the territories belonging to their respective countries. The table on p. 464 shows the inhabitants, white and coloured, in the different territories into which South Africa is divided, and also the area of these territories.

It will be seen that the population is sparse, less than 6½ persons per square mile. (Excluding the Bechuanaland Protectorate and German South-West Africa, which contain very large desert areas, the population is slightly over 7 per square mile.) In British South Africa the coloured races are nearly five times as numerous as the whites. The great majority of the coloured inhabitants are Bantus of pure blood, but the total coloured population includes in the Cape province 298,334 persons of mixed blood (chiefly white and Hottentot) and in Natal 100,918 Asiatics. Save in the German colony the official returns do not discriminate between the nationality of the white inhabitants. Those of British and Dutch origin are probably about equal in numbers, but a very large proportion of the British inhabitants live in the towns, the country population being in most districts predominantly Dutch. The chie cities are Cape Town (pop. 1904, 77,668), Port Elizabeth (32,959), East London (25,220) and Kimberley (34,331) in the Cape province; Durban (67,847) in Natal; Johannesburg (155,642) and Pretoria (36,839) in the Transvaal; and Bloemfontein (33,883) in the Orange Free State. Salisbury and Buluwayo are the chief towns in Southern Rhodesia. The only town of any size outside the British possession is Lourenço Marques (Pop. 1907, 9849) in Delagoa Bay.

Economic Condition.—Originally regarded by Europeans merely as a convenient dépôt for ships on their way to India, the wealth of South Africa for long consisted in its agricultural and pastoral resources. Mealies and wheat were the principal crops. Wool, mohair and ostrich feathers were the chief exports, the only mineral exported being copper (from the Namaqualand mines). The opening up of the diamond mines at Kimberley (1870) followed (1886) by the discovery of the Witwatersrand goldfields completely revolutionized the economic situation and profoundly modified the history of the country. They led, among other things, to the improvement of ports and the building of railways, so that by the close of the first decade of the 20th century the reproach of inaccessibility from which South Africa had suffered was no longer true. From the seaports of Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London, Durban, Lourenço Marques and Beira railway lines run to Kimberley, Bloemfontein, Johannesburg and Pretoria, while a trunk line extends north from Kimberley through Rhodesia (in which gold mining began on an extensive scale in 1898) and across the Zambezi below the Victoria Falls into the Congo basin, where it serves the Katanga mineral area. The distance from Cape Town to Katanga is over 2100 miles. The German territory is also provided with railways, intended eventually to link with the British systems. The standard gauge is 3 ft. 6 in. and in 1910 some 12,000 m. of railway were open. In nearly every instance the railways are state owned. While gold and diamond mining continue the greatest of South African industries other sources of wealth have been added. In the Cape, Natal and the Transvaal coal mining is largely developed; in the Transvaal and the Cape tobacco is grown extensively; sugar, tea and other tropical and sub-tropical produce are largely cultivated in Natal and the Portuguese territory, and, since 1905, mealies have become an important article of export. There are few manufactures; among the chief are the making of wine and brandy in the Cape province, and flour-milling. Cattle and mealies constitute the most valuable possessions of the natives. The imports are of a general nature, textiles and food-stuffs being the most important.

Irrigation.—The scanty rainfall in many parts of South Africa and its unequal distribution necessitates a system of artificial irrigation unless much of the land be allowed to remain uncultivated. But in many regions the soil is deficient in phosphates and nitrates, and large irrigation works can be profitable only in districts where the soil is exceptionally fertile. Before 1877 little was done to make use of the water resources of the country. In that year the Cape legislature provided for the constitution of irrigation boards. Later boring operations were undertaken by the government, and the advice of engineers acquainted with Egyptian and Indian irrigation works sought. A report was drawn up by Sir (then Mr) Wm. Willcocks in 1901 in which he estimated that there were in the Cape, Orange Free State and the Transvaal, 3,000,000 acres which could be brought under irrigation at a cost of about £30,000,000. The value of the land, in its arid condition almost nil, when irrigated he placed at some £100,000,000. None of the South African governments was, however, then in a position to undertake large works. At the Cape the census of 1904 gave 415,688 acres as the area under irrigation, an increase of 105,827 acres since 1891. In the Robertson district a canal (completed in 1904) 21 m. long took off from the Breede River and fertilized a large area, with the result that Robertson ranks as the second richest district in the province. Over the Karroo and other arid regions some 10,000 boreholes had been sunk to depths varying from 50 to 500 ft., their yield being 60,000,000 gallons a year. The value of land under artesian well irrigation (e.g. in the Graaff Reinet district) has increased from 20s. to £200 per morgen. More important, however, are the supplies to be derived from the control of flood water, millions of cubic feet of the best soil being annually washed into the sea. The Boer governments had done little to promote irrigation, but during 1905–1907 a strong intercolonial commission investigated the subject as it affected the Transvaal and Orange Free State, and their final report, issued at Pretoria in 1908, contains full particulars as to the irrigation possibilities in those provinces. At least 350,000 acres in the Transvaal could be remuneratively irrigated, and a proportionally large area in the Orange province. In Natal an act of 1904 gave power to the government to forward irrigation schemes. Under that act the Winterton Irrigation Settlement (18,000 acres) was formed on the upper Tugela. In 1909 an irrigation congress representative of all the governments of British South Africa was held at Robertson, in the Cape province.

Commerce.—All the British states and territories are members of postal, telegraphic and customs unions. The customs are of a protective character, while there is a rebate on goods from Great Britain and British possessions[1] (see below, History). There is internal free trade throughout the Union of South Africa. The customs tariff in the Portuguese possessions is of a highly protective nature; goods coming from Portugal pay one-tenth of the dues levied on foreign goods. In German South-West Africa no discrimination is made as to the country of origin of imports.

A South African Customs Statistical Bureau, which deals with the external trade of British South Africa[2] was established in luly 1905. The statistics issued by the bureau showed a total volume of trade in 1905 of £72,910,000 made up as follows: Imports £29,859,000 (including £4,208,000 received through Portuguese ports); exports £43,050,000. Of this amount £25,644,000 was put as the value of raw gold exported, and £9,257,000 as the value of the diamonds shipped. Only £414,000 worth of goods was exported via Portuguese ports. For 1907 the figures were: Value of total trade £74,153,000; imports £25,920,000, exports £48,233,000. Goods valued at £4,036,377 received through Portuguese ports are included in the imports, and goods valued at £507,000 shipped at Portuguese ports in the exports. The value of raw gold exported in 1907 was £29,510,000, of diamonds £8,973,000. In 1908 the figures were: Total trade £70,093,000; imports £24,438,000 (including £4,641,000 via Portuguese ports); exports £45,655,000 (including £513,000 from Portuguese ports). The raw gold exported was worth £32,047,000 but the export of diamonds fell to £4,796,000. In 1909 the value of the imports into British South Africa was returned at £29,842,000; the value of the exports at £51,151,000.[3] Of the imports over £16,850,000 came from the United Kingdom, over £2,240,000 from Australia, £2,450,000 from Germany, and £2,195,000 from the United States. Of the exports raw gold was valued at £33,303,000, diamonds at £6,370,000, wool at £3,728,000 and ostrich feathers at £2,091,000. The value of the imports through Delagoa Bay and other Portuguese ports was £6,795,000, the exports from Portuguese ports were valued at slightly over £500,000. In the four years the imports from the United Kingdom were about 58%, from other parts of the empire 13%. Of the exports the United Kingdom took some 95%; a considerable quantity of South African produce, especially wool, shipped to England ultimately however finds its way to other countries. Next to Great Britain the countries doing most trade with South Africa are Australia and New Zealand, Germany, the United States, Canada, Brazil, India, Belgium, Holland and France.

Religion.-The great majority of the white inhabitants are Protestants. Most of those of Dutch descent are members of the Dutch Reformed Church (Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk), the state church of the early Cape colonists, or of churches formed by dissentient members of the original church such as the Gereformeerde Kerk (the “Dopper” Church), a branch (introduced in 1858) of the Separatist Reformed Church of Holland. These churches are Calvinistic in doctrine and Presbyterian in organization. Until 1843 the Cape synod was controlled by government commissioners; it was then given power to regulate its own internal affairs. There are separate synods with independent authority for the congregations of the Dutch Reformed Churches in the Cape, Orange Free State and Transvaal provinces. The Doppers (“roundheads”) and other dissentient bodies have also separate synods. Besides these churches there are a number of Lutheran congregations among the Dutch speaking population.

The South Africans of British descent are divided, mainly, into Anglicans, Wesleyans and Presbyterians. The Baptists and Congregationalists are smaller bodies. All form independent churches in communion with the mother churches in Great Britain. The oldest established is that of the Presbyterians. The Anglican

  1. The total amount rebated in 1908 was £430,017.
  2. Including North-West Rhodesia.
  3. For the six months January to June 1910 the figures were: imports £14,770,000; exports £24,442,000.