January 8, 1806Cape Colony becomes a British colony.
The Cape Colony, part of modern South Africa, was established by the Dutch East India Company in 1652, with the founding of Cape Town. It was subsequently occupied by the British in 1795 when the Netherlands were occupied by revolutionary France, so that the French revolutionaries could not take possession of the Cape with its important strategic location. An improving situation in the Netherlands (the Peace of Amiens) allowed the British to hand back the colony to the Batavian Republic in 1803, but by 1806 resurgent French control in the Netherlands led to another British occupation to prevent Napoleon using the Cape. The Cape Colony subsequently remained in the British Empire, becoming self-governing in 1872, and united with three other colonies to form the Union of South Africa in 1910, when it was renamed the Cape of Good Hope Province. South Africa became fully independent in 1931 by the Statute of Westminster.