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SWELLENDAM, a town of South Africa, Cape province, in the valley of the Breede River, 192 m. by rail E. by S. of Cape Town. Pop. (1904), 2406, of whom.'ii39 were white. Swellendam is one of the older Dutch settlements in the Cape, dating from 1745, and was named after Hendrik Swellengrebel (then governor of the Cape) and his wife, whose maiden name was Damme. Early in 1795 the burghers of the town and district rose in revolt against the Dutch East India Company, proclaimed a " free republic," and elected a so-styled national assembly. At the same time the burghers of Graaff Reinet also rebelled against the Cape authorities, who were powerless to suppress the insurrectionary movement. One of the claims of the " free republic " was " the absolute and unconditional slavery of all Hottentots and Bushmen." In September of that year Cape Town surrendered to the British and the " National " party at Swellendam quietly accepted British rule.

The town is a trading centre of some importance, and in the surrounding district are large sheep and ostrich farms. The neighbourhood is noted for its abundance of everlasting flowers.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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