Native Khoikhoi tribespeople are alleged to have looted more than forty cattle from Cape Settlers

Khoikhoi traders Image source

Sunday, 13 March 1701

Long before European settlers arrived at the Cape, it was inhabited by various other people. Two of the most well-known groups are the Khoikhoi, who had been herders and the San, who had been hunters. The arrival of the settlers meant that both the Khoikhoi and the San found their lives severely compromised. 

When the settlers arrived in the Cape, they used fire arms and horses to win wars, raid cattle and subsequently reduce the Khoikhoi to servants. Thus, the story of the European encounter with the Cape's native population is overhelmingly one of conquest. However every so often, the settlers would recieve a bloody nose for their presence. For example, when the settlers allowed their cattle to graze far afield, local members of the Khoikhoi or the San would not hesitate to seize them. On 13 March 1701, the Khoikhoi are reported to have looted more than 40 cattle from the settlers, albeit cattle that were probably stolen in the first place.  Actions like this resulted in constant battles over cattle but since neither the Khoikhoi nor the San had fire arms, they were almost always defeated.

• Sanderson B. Southern Africa 1700-1950 from San.Beck [online] Available at: [Accessed on 5 March 2012]
• South African Government Information,(2012) History [online] Available at: [Accessed on 5 March 2012]

Last updated : 10-Mar-2017

This article was produced by South African History Online on 09-Mar-2012

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