What factors led to the expansion of the Dutch cape colony up to the fish river by 1795?

What factors led to the expansion of the Dutch cape colony up to the fish river by 1795?

The expansion of Dutch cape colony up to the fisher river was caused by geographical, economic, social and administrative factors as shown below.




  • Plenty of unoccupied land in the interior. This enabled the settlers to acquire large pieces of land.
  • Local African inhabitants were weakened by diseases such as the small pox of 1713.
  • The superior weapons of the Dutch enabled settlers to drive away African natives.
  • Absence of natural barriers to their expansion in the north i.e. no mountain ranges and no river valleys to stop them.
  • Much of the land was not fertile therefore they had to occupy large pieces to avoid over grazing.
  • The pastoral nature of the Boers. They moved from place to place in search of grazing grounds hence extending their colony up to Fish River.




  • The pioneer farmers had large families which encouraged them to acquire large pieces of land hence the expansion of the cape.
  • Unfair company policies of pricing and selling farm produce. For example all cattle had to be sold the company at a low fixed price.
  • Unfair taxes imposed by the company on the settlers. This forced some settlers to move into the interior away from the company rule and as they did so, the colony expanded.
  • The act of forcing farmers to give 10% of their cattle for grazing rights by the company
  • Possession of superior weapons by the Dutch also encouraged them to expand into the interior.
  • Most of the settlers had become bankrupt. This generated a desire to try their luck elsewhere.




  • Increase of the Dutch population at the cape. This led to acquiring more land hence the expansion.
  • The San had already been forced by the Khoikhoi and there was no resistance from them.
  • Animal farming needed large pieces of land. Thus they moved from place to place and ended up expanding the colony.
  • The company encouraged Dutch farmers by loaning to them ranches of 6000 acres for grazing some times farmers paid no rent.
  • The company had no powers, will and manpower to punish farmers who acquired land beyond the colony boundary.
  • The need to trade in cattle with the Khoikhoi in the interior also made them to expand.

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