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How comfortable was the life of the average settler in the Dutch Cape Colony of the eighteenth century? The generally accepted view is of a poor, subsistence economy, with little progress being made in the 143 years of Dutch rule (1652-1795). This article shows that new evidence from probate inventory and auction roll records contradicts earlier historical accounts. These documents bear witness to a relatively affluent settler society, comparable to some of the most prosperous regions of eighteenth-century England and Holland. This detailed picture of the material wealth of the Colony should inspire a revision of the standard accounts. The causes and consequences of this prosperity are also considered briefly.