This page describes an obsolete unit.

The unit described on this page was in use prior to modern methods of precision measurement. It was based on a standard which is no longer available, and which is not capable of being calibrated against modern measurement units. Therefore, the equivalence to modern SI units or to current United States customary units can only be considered approximate.

The Cape foot was a unit of measurement in South Africa dating from Dutch colonial days.

In the Netherlands, several foot-size units (voeten) were in use. The Rijnland foot (Rijnlandse voet) was 31.4 cm = 1.03 ft = 0.343 yd [1][2][3]

It was the Rijnland foot that was taken by Dutch settlers to the Cape Colony in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In 1859, by which time the colony had passed into British control, the was calibrated against the English foot and legally defined as 1.033 English feet (0.314858 m).[4][3]

Many lots in the South African colonies were surveyed in terms of the Cape foot, which was the reason this conversion factor was important.


  1. Wikipedia article on "Dutch units of measurement"
  2. Jacob de Gelder (1824) (in Dutch). Allereerste Gronden der Cijferkunst [Introduction to Numeracy]. 's Gravenhage and Amsterdam: de Gebroeders van Cleef. pp. 167. Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Tomasz Zakiewicz, The Cape Geodetic Standards and Their Impact on Africa
  4. "Cape Foot". Sizes. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 

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