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The wealth of the Cape Colony: Measurements from probate inventories

  • Johan Fourie

The stylized view of the Dutch Cape Colony (1652-1795) is of a poor, subsistence economy, with little progress in the first 143 years of Dutch rule. New evidence from probate inventory and auction roll records show that previous estimates about wealth at the Cape are inaccurate. In contrast to earlier historical accounts, the inventories reveal evidence of an affluent, market-integrated settler society, comparable to the most prosperous regions in eighteenth century England and Holland.

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Paper provided by Economic Research Southern Africa in its series Working Papers with number 268.

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Length: 62 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:268
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