16 January 1834

Benjamin D'Urban was born in Suffolk, England and joined the British Army in 1793.  He soon rose to prominence, serving in most major battles, including Salamanca and Toulouse. As part of his foreign service, he became the governor of Antigua in 1819, as well as British Guiana in 1831. On 16 January 1834, D'Urban assumed office as Governor of the Cape of Good Hope, at which time his administration was forced to contend with the Great Trek and the outbreak of the 6th Xhosa War.

Under D'Urban's leadership, the territory between the Keiskamma and Groot Kei rivers was annexed and present-day KwaZulu Natal was occupied. This led to the renaming of the principal port from Port Natal to Durban. D'Urban was fairly popular amongst White colonists, but despite this, was dismissed after being criticized for his harsh behaviour towards Africans.

Evidence of his unfair treatment was given before a parliamentary committee by the missionary and philanthropist, Dr John Phillip. D'Urban remained governor until the arrival of his successor in 1838. In 1842, D'Urban was appointed as the commander of the British forces in British North America (Canada) and remained in this position until his death in 1849.


The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, Sir Benjamin D'Urban, from Encyclopedia Britannica, [online], Available at britannica.com [Accessed: 11 January 2010]|southafrica-travel.net, Durban - History of the City from southafrica-travel.net, [online], Available at southafrica-travel.net [Accessed: 11 January 2010]