ADMIRAL ELPHINSTONE AND THE CONQUEST AND DEFENCE OF THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE, 1795-96

  • Thean Potgieter
  • Albert Grundlingh

Abstract

Vice Admiral of the Blue the Honourable Sir George Keith Elphinstone(1746-1823) was appointed as commander of the British force dispatched to capturethe Cape of Good Hope in 1795. As an experienced naval officer and a capablecommander acquainted with the Cape and the Far East, he was the correct choice tocommand the expedition. Due to the strategic location of the Cape of Good Hope –literally halfway on the sea route to the East – it was vital for maritimecommunications, and Britain had to ensure that the Cape did not fall into Frenchhands. To secure a safe base on the sea route to the East, a British expeditionary forcewas sent to the Cape. The British task force arrived in False Bay on 11 June 1795 andwhen negotiations with the Dutch authorities at the Cape failed, a military campaigncommenced that resulted in the capitulation of the Cape on 16 September 1795. InAugust 1796, when a Dutch squadron under the command of Rear Admiral E. Lucasanchored in Saldanha Bay, Elphinstone speedily neutralised the threat, forcing Lucasto surrender. After a very successful service period at the Cape, Elphinstone returnedto Britain on 7 October 1796. He conducted the defence of the Cape with vigour andactively sought out his enemy, confirming British control of the Cape and the virtualimpossibility of taking back the Cape with force of arms.
Published
2011-08-08
How to Cite
Potgieter, T., & Grundlingh, A. (2011). ADMIRAL ELPHINSTONE AND THE CONQUEST AND DEFENCE OF THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE, 1795-96. Scientia Militaria - South African Journal of Military Studies, 35(2). https://doi.org/10.5787/35-2-37
Section
Articles