June 17, 2013

The Boers Were Not Created With The Great Trek.

The Boer people emerged from the Trekboers of the Cape frontier from the late 1600s & throughout the 1700s yet there appears to be a common misconception / erroneous assertion or pronouncement that the Boers got started during the Great Trek of the early to mid 19th cent. This assertion appears to be made by those who have a vested interest in denying the distinct ethnicity of the Boer people from the bulk of the so called Afrikaners. During the era of the Great Trek there was in fact not one monolithic Caucasian Afrikaans speaking group within the Cape. There was a bifurcation which occurred just a few decades after the initial establishment of the settlement by the VOC at the Cape when the poorest members of the society were forced to trek away after constant exasperation with the corrupt VOC administration. This nomadic Trekboer colony was the true origin of the Boer Nation. Not the Great Trek. 

The folks in the western Cape region were often known as the Cape Dutch [ named by trekking Trekboers who were moving inland ] & whose heartland was in &  around Cape Town but found up to Paarl & Stellenbosch. The Cape Dutch were pro Colonial with strong links to Europe who were loyal to the Colonial power & could not understand or relate to the Boers' desire for independence & self determination.

The proto Afrikaans speaking folks of the northern & eastern Cape frontier were originally called Trekboers [ named after their trekking & nomadic lifestyle as pastoralists throughout the 1700s ] - a term that was soon shortened to Boer: were anti-colonial as well as fiercely independent & had cut all ties to Europe becoming self sufficient living as nomads in the harsh environment of the Cape frontier. Thus by the time the Great Trek had commenced: the Boer people had existed as a distinct contiguous people on the Cape frontier [ away from the Cape Dutch of the western Cape region ] for at least 150 years with their own customs & dialect. The Boers had already had their first overt freedom struggle in 1795 when they declared their first Boer Republics on the Cape frontier at Swellendam & Graaff-Reinet during a revolt against the VOC. During the 1700s when numerous other new German immigrants came to the Cape: many of them settled directly onto the Cape frontier thus further shaping a distinct origin of the fledgling Boer population to that of the Cape Dutch population.       




3 comments:

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