Jonathan Edwards on the Cape of Good Hope


  • Dolf Britz


Early Modern History


In the Edwards corpus, four references surface to the Khoina, an indigenous population group that for centuries inhabited the regions north and east of the Cape of Good Hope. Edwards was familiar with the Cape of Good Hope and its native inhabitants, but he knew them by the name of Hottentots,[1] a title long established in European ethnography, history, and religious and general literature. Knowledge of the existence of the Khoina and reflection on their customs, ways of living, culture, personal appearance, language, beliefs and practices became popularized in a wide range of geographical, historical, and maritime atlases, as well as dictionaries and encyclopedias that contained articles concerning discoveries of and encounters with peoples of the world. An extensive variety of travel literature, dating back to the sixteenth-century Portuguese descriptions of the Cape of Good Hope, supplemented information on the New World.

[1] I am well aware that this term is offensive because it is an expression of, and carries a connotation embedded in, unacceptable and oppressive racism. For the purposes of this article, I repeat the term only when it is used in primary sources.