The Cape Eastern Frontier of South Africa offers a fascinating insight into British military strategy as well as colonial development. The Eastern Frontier was a turbulent frontier for more than a hundred years. It was the area where the four main population groups (the Dutch, the British, the Xhosa and the Khoikhoi) met, and in many respects, key decisions taken on this frontier were seminal in the shaping of South Africa. This article seeks to analyse this frontier in a spatial manner, to analyse how British settlement patterns on the ground were influenced by strategy and policy. The time frame of the study reflects the truly imperial colonial era, from the second British occupation of the Cape colony in 1806 until representative self-governance of the Cape colony in 1872.
Linda Robson is a PhD student in the Department of Town and Regional Planning at the University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa.