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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:More than just a public execution: martial law, crime and the nature of colonial power in British Kaffraria
Author:Webb, Denver A.
Periodical:South African Historical Journal (ISSN 0258-2473)
Geographic term:South Africa
administration of justice
Abstract:This article starts with a hanging and ends with the passing of a colony. It uses the first judicial public execution in King William's Town in British Kaffraria (Eastern Cape, South Africa) in 1858 to explore how colonial processes played themselves out at local level. British authority was imposed in the area for the second time in December 1847, towards the end of the War of the Axe. Born out of war, British Kaffraria relied on military force as the basis for subjugating and controlling the Xhosa for most of its existence. The article examines three interrelated themes: the ad hoc nature of the establishment of colonial hegemony in British Kaffraria, especially with regard to the administration of law in dealing with 'grave' crimes; how the influx of white settlers, particularly German mercenaries, placed pressure on the rudimentary colonial legal system and resulted in further improvised measures to deal with them; and how efforts to establish more substantial institutions of government and attempts to foster a sense of Kaffrarian identity ultimately foundered on the incorporation of British Kaffraria into the Cape Colony. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]