The missing people: Accounting for indigenous populations in Cape Colonial history

5 March 2014
Publication Type: Working Paper
JEL Code: J47, N3, N37

Because information about the livelihoods of indigenous groups is often missing from colonial records, their presence usually escapes attention in quantitative estimates of colonial economic activity. This is nowhere more apparent than in the eighteenth-century Dutch Cape Colony, where the role of the Khoesan in Cape production, despite being frequently acknowledged, has been almost completely ignored in quantitative investigations. Combining household-level settler data with anecdotal accounts of Khoesan labour, this paper explores the effect of including Khoesan farm labour estimates in earlier calculations of slave productivity, societal inequality, and GDP growth in the Dutch East India Company period.

Series title: Working Paper 425
1 March 2014
Journal: The Journal of African History
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