In a report published in 1921, A. Theiler stated that at least seven enzootics of African horse sickness (AHS) had occurred in the Cape Province during the period from 1780 to 1918. The disease emerged only after horses from Europe and the East Indies were imported to South Africa. A report of a devastating disease of horses which, in retrospect, was considered to be AHS appeared in records of the Cape Colony of South Africa in 1719. About 1700 horses imported by the Dutch East Indies Company were destroyed by the epizootic. Although the number of animals involved was not large, about 89% of the horses and 70% of the mules that contracted the disease died. There were also some deaths among donkeys. The horse has always occupied a somewhat unique position among domesticated animals. It may have tremendous sentimental as well as economic value, and in either case, its loss may be deeply felt.