Battle of Blaauwberg, 8 January 1806, artist unknown [Parliamentary Collection 44995]

Battle of Blaauwberg 1806 (artist unknown), original in the Parliamentary Art Collection (44995). The battle, fought near Cape Town on 8 January 1806, was a small but significant incident in the context of the European war against Napoleon. The Cape Colony belonged, at that time, to the Republic of Batavia, which was a vassal state of the French Republic. The British decided to seize the Colony from French control because the sea route around the Cape was considered vital to British interests. In July 1805, a British fleet was despatched, the objective being to forestall the arrival of French troopships sent as reinforcements for the Colony. This fleet anchored off Blaauwberg Strand and on 8th January 1806, the garrison commanded by General Janssens was decisively defeated at the Battle of Blaauwberg. Peace was made under the “Treaty Tree” (the location may be apocryphal) in Woodstock and this established British rule in South Africa.