South African Historical past On-line
Unesco declared Robben Island in the Western Cape a World Heritage Site in 1999. Robben Island is situated in Desk Bay, some 6km west of Bloubergstrand, and stands some 30m above sea stage. Robben Island has been used as prison and a place where individuals had been remoted, banished and exiled to for nearly four hundred years. It was additionally used as a publish office, a grazing ground, a mental hospital and an outpost.
Initially the island was inhabited by quite a lot of wild life, including birds, penguins, seals and tortoises. Its title “robben” is derived from the Dutch, which means a seal. It also had a plentiful provide of recent water accessible from numerous springs. Batolomeu Dias, the Portuguese explorer, ‘found’ the island in 1488 when he anchored his ship in Table Bay.
Before 1652, Instead of dealings with the indigenous residents on the mainland, most visiting ships to Table Bay most popular to land on Robben Island to replenish their provides of fresh water and meat. Because of this it additionally became a significant level for the trade of mail, where letters from an outgoing ship would be left beneath an inscribed stone for collection and supply by a home-going vessel. This continued after Jan van Riebeeck arrived at the Cape in 1652, as he needed to settle a station the place ships that were travelling from Europe to the East Indies, he didn’t wish to cease on the mainland, might get fresh meals and water. stone island baseball hat There have been loads of seals, tortoises and penguins for looking. The Dutch also started to use the island as a grazing station for sheep and cattle.
Prisoners lined up on arrival at Robben Picture source
However, the islands potential as a convict station didn’t go unnoticed, and in about 1671 the Dutch began to place their convicted criminals upon it. It was only a matter of time before this courtesy was prolonged to political prisoners and different “undesirables” banished to the Cape from other Dutch colonies. Actually the Dutch government despatched kings, princes and religious leaders from the East Indies to Robben Island as prisoners because they didn’t agree with the Dutch rule of their country.
When the British annexed the Cape in 1806 they continued this apply. During the primary British occupation of the Cape, from 1795 to 1802, whaling actions have been begun in Desk Bay, and after their return in 1806 a whaling station was situated on Robben Island. Nonetheless it soon grew to become obvious that this offered convicts an easy escape route, and it was closed down in 1820.
In 1812 the first attempt was made to use the island as an asylum for the mentally sick, and in 1843 the Colonial Secretary, John Montagu, put forward a plan to make use of it as a colony for lepers, paupers, the mentally unfit and the chronically ailing. The plan also supplied for the elimination of the penal colony to the mainland where convict labour could be used more productively on authorities tasks, corresponding to street-building. This plan was accepted and by 1845 the island had turn into a home for the Colony’s unwanted and unloved, those deemed to be ‘mentally ill’ in those days may embrace the homeless, alcoholics, people who have been to sick or previous to work and prostitutes with sexually transmitted diseases. These unfortunates were usually subjected to therapy, which was unhealthy and inhumane even by the requirements of that time, and situations on the island became the topic of constant complaint from progressive clergy and medical workers. Though some enhancements have been implemented over time, the island’s lazaretto was solely closed down in 1931.
The lighthouse on Robben Island was commissioned in January 1865. The circular tower, designed by the Colonial Engineer, John Scott Tucker, was built in stone quarried domestically, and stood 18m excessive. The 1875 census indicated that Robben Island had a population of 552. In 1891 this number had risen to 702, and by 1904 it stood at 1,460.
Aerial view of Robben Island with Desk Mountain in the background.
After 1931 all the ‘patients’ were despatched to hospitals within the Cape and the island began for use as a army outpost before WW II. Guns have been saved there and the government built roads, a energy station, a new water supply and houses.
In 1961 it started getting used as a prison again. Throughout apartheid many Black folks had been stored on Robben Island as political prisoners. Former President Nelson Mandela was saved there. The prison internationally infamous for its harsh conditions and when the political prisoners of the apartheid government were launched Robben Island turned a symbol of the strength of the human spirit.