Print version ISSN 0018-229X
GROENEWALD, Gerald. "More comfort, better prosperity, and greater advantage": Free burghers, alcohol retail and the VOC authorities at the Cape of Good Hope, 1652-1680. Historia [online]. 2012, vol.57, n.1, pp. 01-21. ISSN 0018-229X.
After 1680, alcohol retail at the Cape of Good Hope was controlled through a lease (pacht) system whereby free burghers could buy, on a competitive basis, the right to sell a specific type of alcohol in a certain region for one year. In this way, the VOC remained assured of a major direct source of revenue. However, this lease system was not in place with the establishment of a VOC outpost in 1652, but had a troubled and complex development in the decades before 1680. This article traces this development and shows how it was linked to changing ideas about the role of free burghers in the nascent colony, their economic conditions, and their relationship with the VOC authorities. It is argued that the system of alcohol retail as it was established in 1680, constituted a victory for free burgher interests, and that this development demonstrates how local political and economic interests were linked to the changing fortunes of the VOC in a wider context.
Keywords : alcohol retail; business history; Cape of Good Hope; colonial identity; colonial politics; Dutch East India Company (VOC); entrepreneurship; free burghers; Indian Ocean; port cities.