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South African Journal of Cultural History

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The oak tree in history and its legacy in the Western Cape

JT Kemp

Abstract


Die eikeboom in die geskiedenis en die Wes-Kaapse erfenis


Die vermaarde eikeboom het 'n belangrike invloed in antieke en onlangse tye op die wel en wee van die mensdom uitgeoefen. Met die koms van die Nederlanders na die Kaap in die middel van die sewentiende eeu het die eikeboom saamgekom en gesorg vir 'n nalatenskap op ons sosiale en kulturele landskap.


'n Oorsig van die oorsprong, waarde en geskiedenis van dié boom word in die eerste deel van die opstel gegee. In die tweede deel word die koms en vestiging aan die Kaap, die verspreiding na die binneland en die agteruitgang daarvan as 'n bosboom behandel. Derdens kry die omskakeling van 'n bos- na 'n stadsboom en die gevolglike bydrae tot ons historiese en argitektoniese erfenis aandag.


Die opstel maak staat op 'n mengsel van primêre, sekondêre asook populêre bronne soos webbladsye en gewone literatuur en is nie botanies-wetenskaplik nie. Waar toepaslik, word wetenskaplike name van bome egter gegee.


The renowned oak tree has played a significant role in the affairs of humankind in ancient and recent times. With the coming of the Dutch to the Cape in the mid-seventeenth century the oak tree came along and left its legacy on our cultural and social landscape.


In the first part of the essay an overview of the origin and history of the tree and its value is portrayed. In the second part the introduction of the oak and its establishment at the Cape, its spread into the interior and its demise as a forest tree is enlarged upon. Thirdly the change from forest to urban tree and its consequent contribution to our historical and architectural legacies are presented.


The essay relies on a mix of primary, secondary as well as popular sources like web pages and ordinary literature and does not claim to be botany specific. Where appropriate, scientific names of trees are however given.



SA Journal of Cultural History Vol.16(2) 2002: 66-93



http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/sajch.v16i2.6341
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