The Province of the Cape of Good Hope ( af, Provinsie Kaap die Goeie Hoop), commonly referred to as the Cape Province ( af, Kaapprovinsie) and colloquially as The Cape ( af, Die Kaap), was a
province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', which was the major territorial and administrative unit of the Roman Empire's territorial possessions outs ...
in the Union of South Africa and subsequently the Republic of South Africa. It encompassed the old
Cape Colony The Cape Colony ( nl, Kaapkolonie), also known as the Cape of Good Hope, was a British Empire, British colony in present-day South Africa named after the Cape of Good Hope. The British colony was preceded by an earlier Corporate colony that b ...
, as well as Walvis Bay, and had Cape Town as its capital. In 1994, the Cape Province was split up to form the new Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Western Cape provinces, along with part of the North West.


When the Union of South Africa was formed in 1910, the original
Cape Colony The Cape Colony ( nl, Kaapkolonie), also known as the Cape of Good Hope, was a British Empire, British colony in present-day South Africa named after the Cape of Good Hope. The British colony was preceded by an earlier Corporate colony that b ...
was renamed the Cape Province. It was by far the largest of South Africa's four provinces, as it contained regions it had previously annexed, such as British Bechuanaland (not to be confused with the
Bechuanaland Protectorate The Bechuanaland Protectorate () was a protectorate A protectorate is a state that is controlled and protected by another sovereign state. It is a dependent territory that has been granted local autonomy over most internal affairs while st ...
, now
Botswana Botswana (, also ), officially the Republic of Botswana ( tn, Lefatshe la Botswana, label= Setswana; Kalanga: ''Hango yeBotswana''), is a landlocked country in Southern Africa Southern Africa is the southernmost region of the African ...
), Griqualand East (the area around Kokstad) and Griqualand West (area around Kimberley, Northern Cape, Kimberley). As a result, it encompassed two-thirds of South Africa's territory, and covered an area similar in size to the US state of Texas. At the time of the formation of the Union of South Africa, South Africa consisted of four provinces: Transvaal Province, Transvaal (previously the South African Republic), Natal Province, Natal, Orange Free State (province), Orange Free State and the Cape Province.

Cape Franchise

Before union, the
Cape Colony The Cape Colony ( nl, Kaapkolonie), also known as the Cape of Good Hope, was a British Empire, British colony in present-day South Africa named after the Cape of Good Hope. The British colony was preceded by an earlier Corporate colony that b ...
had traditionally implemented a system of non-racial franchise, whereby qualifications for suffrage were applied equally to all males, regardless of race. During the union negotiations, the Cape Prime Minister, John X. Merriman fought unsuccessfully to extend this multi-racial franchise system to the rest of South Africa. This failed, as it was strongly opposed by the other constituent states which were determined to entrench white rule. After union, the Cape Province was permitted to keep a restricted version of its multi-racial qualified franchise, and thus became the only province where Coloureds (mixed-race people) and Black Africans could vote. Over the following years, successive acts were passed to erode this colour-blind voters roll. In 1931, the restricting franchise qualifications were removed for white voters, but kept for Black and Coloured voters. In 1956, the Apartheid government removed all remaining suffrage rights for "non-whites". The government had to appoint many extra Senate of South Africa, senators in parliament to force through this change.

Partitioning under Apartheid

During the apartheid era so-called "bantustans" or homelands for the different Bantu nations were carved out of the existing provinces as part of the policy of perpetuating white control over South Africa. These became known as the four independent Provinces of South Africa#Independent Homelands, TBVC States and the six Provinces of South Africa#Non-Independent Homelands, Non-Independent Homelands. Griqualand East was transferred to Natal Province after Transkei was declared independent, since it was cut off from the rest of the province. The Transkei (1976) and Ciskei (1981) regions were declared independent of South Africa (They were re-incorporated into South Africa in 1994, both part of the new Eastern Cape province).


After the first fully democratic elections in April 1994, the Transkei and Ciskei bantustans were reunited with Cape Province, then the country was divided into what are now the current nine provinces of South Africa. Cape Province was broken up into three smaller provinces: the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape. Parts of it were also absorbed into the North West. Walvis Bay, a territory of the original Cape Colony, had been Cession, ceded to Namibia two months earlier.

Districts in 1991

Districts of the province and population at the 1991 census. * Aberdeen, Eastern Cape, Aberdeen: 8,009 * Adelaide, Eastern Cape, Adelaide: 15,220 * Albany, South Africa, Albany (main town Grahamstown): 69,705 * Albert District, Albert (main town Burgersdorp): 16,995 * Alexandria, Eastern Cape, Alexandria: 26,651 * Aliwal-Noord: 27,486 * Barkly-Oos: 12,821 * Barkly-Wes: 35,012 * Bathurst, Eastern Cape, Bathurst: 32,419 * Beaufort-Wes: 31,726 * Bedford, Eastern Cape, Bedford: 16,074 * Bellville, Western Cape, Bellville: 269,995 * Bredasdorp: 23,076 * Britstown: 6,523 * Caledon, Western Cape, Caledon: 79,052 * Calitzdorp: 6,759 * Calvinia: 18,430 * Cape District, Cape: 179,537 * Carnarvon, Northern Cape, Carnarvon: 9,728 * Cathcart, Eastern Cape, Cathcart: 14,815 * Ceres, Western Cape, Ceres: 47,052 * Clanwilliam, Western Cape, Clanwilliam: 28,144 * Colesberg: 15,446 * Cradock, Eastern Cape, Cradock: 37,144 * De Aar: 25,438 * East London, Eastern Cape, Oos-Londen: 240,474 * Elliot, Eastern Cape, Elliot: 14,159 * Fort Beaufort: 22,793 * Fraserburg: 4,367 * George, Western Cape, George: 95,597 * Goodwood, Cape Town, Goodwood: 259,620 * Gordonia District, Gordonia (main town Upington): 118,623 * Graaff-Reinet: 34,440 * Hankey: 24,548 * Hanover, Northern Cape, Hanover: 4,399 * Hartswater: 29,146 * Hay District, Hay (main town Griquatown): 11,104 * Heidelberg, Western Cape, Heidelberg: 11,519 * Herbert District, Herbert (main town Douglas, Northern Cape, Douglas): 26,316 * Hermanus: 21,610 * Hofmeyr: 4,995 * Hopefield, Western Cape, Hopefield: 8,822 * Hopetown: 11,175 * Humansdorp: 43,799 * Indwe: 9,483 * Jansenville: 9,797 * Joubertina: 13,385 * Kenhardt: 11,353 * Kimberley, Northern Cape, Kimberley: 167,060 * King William's Town: 29,653 * Kirkwood, Eastern Cape, Kirkwood: 30,766 * Knysna: 50,420 * Komga: 14,142 * Kuilsrivier: 133,577 * Kuruman: 24,817 * Ladismith: 12,705 * Lady Grey, Eastern Cape, Lady Grey: 7,530 * Laingsburg, Western Cape, Laingsburg: 5,781 * Maclear, Eastern Cape, Maclear: 16,653 * Malmesbury, Western Cape, Malmesbury: 113,450 * Middelburg, Eastern Cape, Middelburg: 21,737 * Molteno, Eastern Cape, Molteno: 11,702 * Montagu, Western Cape, Montagu: 21,674 * Moorreesburg: 11,159 * Mosselbaai: 59,170 * Murraysburg: 5,960 * Namakwaland District, Namakwaland (main town Springbok, Northern Cape, Springbok): 62,536 * Noupoort: 8,348 * Oudtshoorn: 68,093 * Paarl: 136,121 * Pearston: 4,983 * Philipstown, Northern Cape, Philipstown: 8,799 * Piketberg: 34,152 * Port Elizabeth: 670,653 * Postmasburg: 54,790 * Prieska: 19,185 * Prince Albert, Western Cape, Prince Albert: 8,567 * Queenstown, Eastern Cape, Queenstown: 44,469 * Richmond, Northern Cape, Richmond: 6,326 * Riversdal: 25,021 * Robertson, Western Cape, Robertson: 32,331 * Simonstad: 58,323 * Somerset-Oos: 29,758 * Somerset-Wes: 59,947 * Stellenbosch: 73,839 * Sterkstroom: 7,687 * Steynsburg: 10,593 * Steytlerville: 5,341 * Strand, Western Cape, Strand: 40,096 * Stutterheim: 40,119 * Sutherland, Northern Cape, Sutherland: 3,596 * Swellendam: 32,147 * Tarka District, Tarka: 9,538 * Tulbagh: 25,334 * Uitenhage: 182,551 * Uniondale, Western Cape, Uniondale: 9,354 * Vanrhynsdorp: 12,815 * Venterstad: 5,777 * Victoria West: 11,910 * Vredenburg: 39,908 * Vredendal: 28,962 * Vryburg: 98,551 * Walvisbaai (South African 1878–1994): 22,999 * Warrenton, Northern Cape, Warrenton: 22,368 * Wellington, Western Cape, Wellington: 37,432 * Williston, Northern Cape, Williston: 4,177 * Willowmore: 10,734 * Wodehouse District, Wodehouse (main town Dordrecht, Eastern Cape, Dordrecht): 15,540 * Worcester, Western Cape, Worcester: 117,159 * Wynberg, Cape Town, Wynberg: 1,101,668


See also

* Provinces of South Africa


External links

A history of the Cape Province
{{Authority control History of South Africa Former provinces of South Africa States and territories established in 1910 States and territories disestablished in 1994 1910 establishments in South Africa 1994 disestablishments in South Africa