The Cape of Good Hope Panel Data Infrastructure

Erik Green, Lund University
Calumet Links, Stellenbosch University
Kate Ekama, Stellenbosch University

The aim of this talk is to give a brief overview of the historical sources that the Cape of Good Hope panel is using and what type of questions can be asked and answered with the use of these sources. Combing the tax censuses with the probates, auction rolls and genealogical data allows us to study the gradual development of a colonial settler society at an in-depth level that is rare for the global south. While we know much about the long-term outcomes of these transformative changes that the arrival of the Europeans overseas brought about, we know little about how they came about and how they affected ordinary people's lives, both the intruders that settled and the lives of the indigenous people. We know that the latter eventually became subjugated to colonial rule, but that did not happen overnight, nor was it inevitable. The settler economies and their institutional fabric evolved gradually and were an outcome of both collaboration and conflicts between the colonizers and the colonized. It is these processes of gradual, uncertain, fractured change that contain the focal point of this research program. I will give examples of how our data infrastructure allows us to ask new questions and revise old ones and thereby contribute to the larger literature on colonialism and its legacies.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 120. Round table: Big data and writing the history of the global south: The Case of the Cape of Good Hope Panel