The missing people - Accounting for the productivity of indigenous populations in Cape colonial history

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The missing people - Accounting for the productivity of indigenous populations in Cape colonial history. / Fourie, Johan; Green, Erik.

In: Journal of African History, Vol. 56, No. 2, 2015, p. 195-215.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - The missing people - Accounting for the productivity of indigenous populations in Cape colonial history

AU - Fourie, Johan

AU - Green, Erik

PY - 2015

Y1 - 2015

N2 - Because information about the livelihoods of indigenous groups in Africa is often missing from colonial records, the presence of such people usually escapes attention in quantitative estimates of colonial economic activity. This is nowhere more apparent than in the eighteenth-century Dutch Cape Colony, where the role of the Khoesan in Cape production, despite being frequently acknowledged, has been almost completely ignored in quantitative investigations. Combining household-level settler data with anecdotal accounts of Khoesan labour, this article presents new estimates of the Khoesan population of the Cape Colony. Our results show that the Khoesan did not leave the area as a consequence of settler expansion. On the contrary, the number of Khoesan employed by the settlers increased over time, as the growth of settler farming followed a pattern of primitive accumulation and drove the Khoesan to abandon their pastoral lifestyle to become farm labourers.We show that, in failing to include the Khoisan population, previous estimates have overestimated slave productivity, social inequality, and the level of gross domestic product in the Cape Colony.

AB - Because information about the livelihoods of indigenous groups in Africa is often missing from colonial records, the presence of such people usually escapes attention in quantitative estimates of colonial economic activity. This is nowhere more apparent than in the eighteenth-century Dutch Cape Colony, where the role of the Khoesan in Cape production, despite being frequently acknowledged, has been almost completely ignored in quantitative investigations. Combining household-level settler data with anecdotal accounts of Khoesan labour, this article presents new estimates of the Khoesan population of the Cape Colony. Our results show that the Khoesan did not leave the area as a consequence of settler expansion. On the contrary, the number of Khoesan employed by the settlers increased over time, as the growth of settler farming followed a pattern of primitive accumulation and drove the Khoesan to abandon their pastoral lifestyle to become farm labourers.We show that, in failing to include the Khoisan population, previous estimates have overestimated slave productivity, social inequality, and the level of gross domestic product in the Cape Colony.

KW - South Africa

KW - economic

KW - labour

KW - inequality

KW - slavery

KW - indigeneity

U2 - 10.1017/S002185371500002X

DO - 10.1017/S002185371500002X

M3 - Article

VL - 56

SP - 195

EP - 215

JO - Journal of African History

T2 - Journal of African History

JF - Journal of African History

SN - 0021-8537

IS - 2

ER -