“Horses! Give Me More Horses!”: White Settler Identity, Horses, and the Making of Early Modern South Africa

  • Sandra Swart
Part of the Early Modern Cultural Studies book series (EMCSS)


In southern Africa, the smell of leather and horse sweat was the smell of conquest. From 1652, South Africa was colonized by men on horseback, creating a white colonial state and changing the face of the land itself. Although species of the genus Equus—such as the zebra and ass—had been present in Africa since earlier times, the horse (Equus caballus) is not indigenous, but was introduced into the continent. The histories of horses and white settlers are intimately, indeed inextricably, entangled. Horses were the first domestic stock imported by the settlers upon their arrival at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652. Although the horse had been in regular use in North and West Africa from A.D. 600, there were none in the southern tip.1 African horse sickness presented a pathogenic barrier to horses reaching the Cape over land.2


Masculine Identity Equus Caballus Horse Breeding Poor White White Settler 
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Copyright information

© Karen Raber and Treva J. Tucker 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandra Swart

There are no affiliations available

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