Cape Town was founded in 1652 by Gov. Jan van Riebeeck as a supply station on the Dutch East India Company's sea route to the East. In 1795 the British occupied the city. It was returned to the Dutch in 1803 but recaptured in 1806 by the British, who established Cape of Good Hope Colony with Cape Town as capital. When the Union of South Africa was formed in 1910, Cape Town became its legislative capital and Pretoria its administrative capital.
Cape Town's attractions include the Castle, a fortress dating from 1666; the Dutch Reformed church (begun 1699); Old Town House (1755), which contains a museum of 17th-century Flemish and Dutch paintings; and botanical gardens and an aquarium. The Univ. of Cape Town and a technical college are in the city; nearby is the Groote Schuur estate, the former prime minister's and president's residence, now a museum and the Univ. of the Western Cape. The city has an international airport. Robben Island, a former political prison, is offshore.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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