Cape Town: Between East and West, Social Identities in a Dutch Colonial Town

9781431402922: Cape Town: Between East and West, Social Identities in a Dutch Colonial Town

This is the first single-volume social history of eighteenth-century Dutch Cape Town. The product of a major seven-year research project involving leading South African and international historians, it looks at the port settlement in all the complexity of its social interactions. Not only does it consider the elite inhabitants such as the 'expat' officials of the Dutch East India Company and the free burghers but it also includes members of Cape Town's underclasses: soldiers and sailors, artisans, convicts, exiles and freed slaves. At the same time the book positions the town in the wider context of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and stresses its complex connections with Europe, Asia and Africa. It is clear that Cape Town was shaped by forces beyond its immediate geographical confines, being part of a wide network of interchanges of people, goods and ideas across continents and oceans. The book provides a fresh and vibrant understanding of this Dutch colonial town, the lives of its inhabitants, the identities they fashioned for themselves and the cultural landscape they created at the Cape.

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