The Cape Colony is ceded to Britain

Saturday, 13 August 1814

When the revolutionary armies of France invaded Holland, William of Orange escaped to England and issued instructions that the Cape should temporarily be handed over to the British for protection against the French. Accordingly, in 1795, a British force arrived at the Cape. The Dutch resisted and, after a brief battle (the Battle of Muizenberg), retired before superior forces and the British took possession of the Cape.

The British remained in possession until 1803, when the Colony was relinquished to the Dutch by the terms of the Treaty of Amiens. Within three months of the restoration of the colony, war had again broken out between Britain and Holland. In 1806, a British fleet of sixty-one ships dropped anchor at Robben Island and landed 6 000 troops at Blaauwberg.

The Battle of Blaauwberg followed and Dutch resistance crumbled. On 13 August 1814 the Cape Colony was formally ceded to Britain by a convention under which Dutch vessels were to remain entitled to resort freely to the Cape of Good Hope for the purposes of refreshment and repairs. Britain agreed on 13 August 1814 to pay five million sterling to the United Netherlands for the Dutch possession at the Cape.


• Richmond,S.,(2009),The British Take over,(Lonely Planet), pp.46-47.

Last updated : 16-Aug-2013

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011