Beggars Bush: A Perambulation through the Disciplines of History, Geography, Archaeology, Literature, Philology, Natural History, Botany, Biography & Beggary

Albany Cape Province South Africa Beggars Bush 1832

Presently the name of an unoccupied farm and State Forest Nature Reserve in the Albany Division of Cape Province, South Africa. The situation is very similar to the earlier “frontier” sites at Philipstown, County Offally and Charles River, Virginia.

Albany is the area south and east of the Great Fish River. The first Europeans to settle the area were trekboers in the 1770s. It was known as the Zuurveld (sour grassland) from the characteristic of the grass to lose nutritional value after about 4 months grazing.
The area became the scene of conflict in the 1780s between Dutch East India Company and the Xhosa, and then between the British and Xhosa & Khoikoi, in the British Army’s first introduction to “bush warfare”. Between 1779 and 1878 there were Nine Frontier Wars. From 1811 the British adopted a policy of driving the Xhosa across the Fish River, and a series of frontier forts was erected. The name Albany was imposed in 1813, probably after the birthplace in New York of Jacob Cuyler, the landrost (governor).  The motto on the coat of arms of the Division is “Take Root or Die” taken from a phrase in an autobiography of an early settler describing his necessary attitude on arrival. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: March 13th, 2011 | Filed under: Places | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »