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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Portuguese and the Dutch in Southern Africa. Some Comparisons
Author:Ross, RobertISNI
Periodical:Itinerario: European Journal of Overseas History
Geographic terms:Mozambique
South Africa
The Cape
Subjects:colonial history
History and Exploration
Abstract:The Dutch colony at the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa) and the Portuguese possessions in the Zambezi valley (Mozambique) were the only two major areas of Africa over which Europeans imposed their rule before the end of the 18th century. The societies established in the two areas differed considerably from each other. It would therefore appear that they would provide a clear illustration of the differences between the two imperial powers' ideologies and practices of colonialism. The Portuguese in the Zambezi valley showed many signs of their being still subjects of a feudal kingdom. The form of land tenure which gave the 'prazos' their name went back to medieval Iberia. The record does not suggest that the Portuguese intervened directly in the agricultural production process of the Africans over whom they ruled. The Dutch at the Cape, on the other hand, were not only ruled by the leading merchant capitalist company of the 17th century, but also behaved accordingly. The VOC distributed land in what was in effect freehold tenure. Whereas the Portuguese accommodated to local African society, the Dutch constructed a radically new social order. However, these distinctions are as much the consequence of the differences between the African societies in the hinterlands of Table Bay and the Zambezi delta as of those between Lisbon and Amsterdam. Bibliogr.