A history of Robben Island and District 6

Essay by pookie909High School, 12th gradeA-, November 2014

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Although Robben Island has received much more recognition, both itself and District 6 both played major roles and have had major impacts in and during apartheid. My essay will focus on the backgrounds of these two iconic places, the role they played in and during apartheid and lastly I will discuss why Robben Island has become World famous and District 6 has been titled of the lost community.

From 1498, when Vasco De Gama's troops first set foot on Robben Island till roughly 1652, when the Dutch East India Company (DEIC) first established a settlement at what they called the Cape of Good Hope, the island was used as a stop for European travellers on their trade routes. The island had an abundance of natural resources and thus was regarded as a very important stop as ships they would replenish their stock. As the DEIC became more established at the Cape they began building a prison on the Island - it was the ideal place as it was isolated, the community would self - sufficient due to the vast amounts of natural resources and also there was a well-developed boat system implemented by the Khoisan which would provide transport to the Cape.

Whilst the Cape was controlled by the DEIC it served as a prison which would hold political and religious leaders different places on the DEIC trade routes who opposed them. The prison continued from 1806 when Britain captured the cape, it was used as an ordinary prison which held common criminals as well as a few political prisoners. In 1846 the main prison was closed down and transformed into a colonial hospital but the island itself was still regarded as secure place of exile for political prisoners. The new hospital catered for 3 main diseases: the insane, the...