Britain took control of the cape during the era of mercantilism in Europe. At the end of 18th century the British became interested in seizing the cape colony from the Dutch. During 1793 France invaded the Netherlands. King William V. sought refuge in Britain and also asked for protection for Dutch colonies and trading interests.
During this time, the British already controlled India and the trade between India and Europe. In 1795 the British occupied the cape twice for a short period of time. From 1806 onwards especially when the Napoleonic wars ended in 1815 the Britain made a formal purchase of the Cape from the Netherlands for six million pounds sterling. Therefore British started to settle at the Cape in Cape. Tactics used by British to occupy the Cape includes:-
1. Introduction of land legislation system: They aimed at discouraging pastoralism among Boers and to encourage sedentary farming since the policy limited the size of an individual’s land. The Dutch thought that the British introduced the land law to take land from the Boers and redistribute it to the landless Khoikhoi so they opposed the land law.
2. Abolition of slave trade and slavery in 1807: The British government abolished slave trade in all their colonies and offered compensation for slaves but the money was only paid inLondon as a result the majority did not get their compensation. However, freeing slavesendangered the economic survival of the Boers as they depended much on slave labour.
3. Imposition of the English language as the as the language of administering the law and justice and the medium of instruction in schools in 1822. Hence English language replaced the Dutch as he official language.
4. Abolition of internal trade restriction imposed by the Dutch company officials on the farmers and other settlers at the cape. This created more trade opportunities as they could now trade freely without strictly control from the administration.
5. Introduction of the pass in 1809 to reduce the exploitation of African labour as the system required African workers to carry passbooks which indicated their residence and employment, and those who did not carry them were regarded as criminals. The pass prevented the Africans from moving from district to district or moving into areas occupied by Europeans.
6. Introduction of contract system, through this the Boers were to sign contracts with their workers. In those contracts they were to mention the wages and other fringe benefits that they gave to their workers. Therefore the Boers regarded the contract system as British interference in the traditional Boer-Africans relationship of master-servant.
7. Introduction of the Black circuit court system in 1811 in order to reduce acts of violence committed by European employers against African employees. The law angered the Boers who considered themselves a superior race and thus natural masters of the Africans.