Cape Town was founded in 1652 by Governor 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.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: South African Political Geography
Browse by Subject
- Earth and the Environment +-
- History +-
- Literature and the Arts +-
- Medicine +-
- People +-
- Philosophy and Religion +-
- Places +-
- Australia and Oceania
- Britain, Ireland, France, and the Low Countries
- Commonwealth of Independent States and the Baltic Nations
- Germany, Scandinavia, and Central Europe
- Latin America and the Caribbean
- Oceans, Continents, and Polar Regions
- Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and the Balkans
- United States, Canada, and Greenland
- Plants and Animals +-
- Science and Technology +-
- Social Sciences and the Law +-
- Sports and Everyday Life +-