Cape Town is the second-most crowded city in South Africa, and the major in ground area, forming division of the City of Cape Town metropolitan town. It is the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape, as well as the legislative capital of South Africa, where the National Parliament and many government offices are located. The city is famous for its harbour as well as its natural setting in the Cape floral kingdom, including such well-known landmarks as Table Mountain and Cape Point. Cape Town is also Africa's most popular tourist destination.
Situated on the coast of Table Bay, Cape Town was initially urbanized by the Dutch East India Company as a victualling (supply) station for Dutch ships marine to Eastern Africa, India, and the Far East. Jan van Riebeeck's entrance on 6 April 1652 established the primary stable European settlement in South Africa. Cape Town swiftly outgrew its creative purpose as the first European outpost at the Castle of Good Hope, becoming the financial and cultural center of the Cape Colony. Until the Witwatersrand Gold Rush and the development of Johannesburg, Cape Town was the largest city in South Africa.
Today it is one of the majority multicultural cities in the world, brilliant its role as a main destination for immigrants and expatriates to South Africa. As of 2007 the city had an estimated population of 3.5 million. Cape Town's land area of 2,455 square kilometres (948 sq mi) is larger than other South African cities, resulting in a comparatively lower population density of 1,425 inhabitants per square kilometre (3,690 /sq mi).
There is no confidence as to when human’s primary engaged the area prior to the first visits of Europeans in the 15th century. The earliest known remnants in the region were found at Peers cave in Fish Hoek and date to between 15,000 and 12,000 years ago. Little is known of the history of the region's first residents, since there is no written history from the area before it was first mentioned by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias in 1486. Vasco da Gama recorded a sighting of the Cape of Good Hope in 1497, and the area did not have regular contact with Europeans until 1652, when Jan van Riebeeck and other employees of the Dutch East India Company (Dutch: Verenigde Oost-indische Compagnie, VOC) were sent to the Cape to establish a way-station for ships travelling to the Dutch East Indies, and the Fort de Goede Hoop (later replaced by the Castle of Good Hope). The city grew slowly during this period, as it was hard to find adequate labour. This labour shortage prompted the city to import slaves from Indonesia and Madagascar. Many of these became ancestors of the first Cape Coloured communities.
Through the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, the Netherlands was repeatedly engaged by France, and Great Britain stimulated to take manage of Dutch colonies. Britain captured Cape Town in 1795, but the Cape was returned to the Netherlands by treaty in 1803. British forces occupied the Cape again in 1806 following the battle of Bloubergstrand. In the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814, Cape Town was permanently ceded to Britain. It became the capital of the newly formed Cape Colony, whose territory expanded very substantially through the 1800s