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Johan Anthoniszoon van Riebeeck, SV/PROG

Also Known As: "Jan van Riebeeck"
Birthplace: 'De Fonteyn', Culemborg, Nederland, Gelderland
Death: Died in East Indies
Immediate Family:

Son of Anthony Jansz van Riebeeck and Elisabeth Govertsdr van Gaesbeeck
Husband of Maria de la Queillerie, SM/PROG and Maria Scipio
Father of Abraham van Riebeeck; Elisabeth van Riebeeck; Antonia van Riebeeck; Joan van Riebeeck and Joanna van Riebeeck
Brother of Geertruyd van Riebeeck

Occupation: Joining the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in 1639, he served in a number of posts, including that of an assistant surgeon in the Batavia in the East Indies, Head of the VOC trading post in Tonkin, Vietnam. Command of South African Dutch settlement.
Managed by: Mike A. Doeff
Last Updated:

About Jan van Riebeeck

Resolutions of the Cape of Good Hope - With aknowledgement to Dr Helena Liebenberg(Author)

Zaterdach den 30en December 1651 (Sat. 30/112/1651) De wint westelijck, vrij hard aencoelende. Bevinden 't schip den Drommedaris soo ranck te wesen, dat wij quaelijck eenigh seijl cunnen voeren, sonder beduchtinge van groote swarigheijt, derhalven de schippers van den Reijger ende Hope aen boort ontboden hebben, ende haer in den Raedt voorgedragen de ranckheijt des schips; daerbij geroepen sijnde de scheeps-officieren, dewelcke verclaerden niet sonder prijckel geraden met 't schip door zee te gaen, alsoo niet mogelijck is, op een lager wal vervallende, daerboven te cunnen geraecken, noch met een bijleggen eenige smacken van grove zeen te cunnen affslaen, Soo is na goet overlegh ende rijpe deliberatien eenparigh nootshalven ten meesten dienste van d' E. Comp. goetgevonden, dewijle doch weijnigh met bijleggen cunnen vorderen, aen d' Engelse cust met ons drie schepen bequame haven te soecken omme 't schip den Drommedaris aldaer met eenige bootssteen te ballasten, ende dan gesamentlijck van daer op 't alderspoedighste onse gedestineerde reijse met alle mogelijcke vlijt te bevoirderen. Aldus gedaen ende geresolveert in 't schip den Drommedaris, ten dage ende jare als boven. JOHAN VAN RIEBEECK, 1651. DAVIT CONINCK. JAN HOOCHSAET. SYMEN TURVER. P. v. HELM, Secrets. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Johan Anthoniszoon "Jan" van Riebeeck (April 21, 1619, Culemborg, Gelderland – January 18, 1677) was a Dutch colonial administrator and founder of Cape Town.

Van Riebeeck was born in Culemborg in the Netherlands as the son of a surgeon. He grew up in Schiedam, where he married 19-year old Maria de la Quellerie on 28 March 1649. (She died in Malacca, now part of Malaysia, on 2 November 1664, at the age of 35). The couple had eight children, most of whom did not survive infancy. Their son Abraham van Riebeeck, born at the Cape, later became Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies.


Jan van Riebeeck (zn. van Anthony Jansz. en Elisabeth Govertsdr.), geb. Culemborg 21-4-1619, onderchirurgijn Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) 1639, klerk 1640, en assistent 1642 ter Generale Secretarie te Batavia, onderkoopman O.-I.C. op Decima 1643!, Tayouan en in Tonkin, koopman O.-I.C. ald.1646, secunde van Tonkin 1646-´47, koopman te Amsterdam 1648, Opperhooft, commandeur aan de Kaap de Goede Hoop 1652-´62, raad van Justitie te Batavia 1662, commandeur en president van Malakka 1662-´65, secretaris van gouverneur-generaal en raden van Indië 1665, + Batavia 18-1-1677.

Founder of Cape-Town


On the subject of the misrepresentation of Van Riebeeck & his wife in the famous portraits

long assumed to be them, Craig Sheldon sums up what we know on the Geni SA FaceBook page: Possibly a portrait of Bartholomeus Vermuyden, as painted by Dirck Craey, 1650, in the Rijksmuseum - - according to the research of Jonkheer F.G.L.O van Kretschmar Jan van Riebeeck, artist unknown - - reproduced in "De Stichter van Hollands Zuid-Afrika" by E.C. Godee Molsbergen Portret van een man, vermoedelijk Bartholomeus Vermuyden (1616/17-1650), Dirck Craey, 1650 olieverf op paneel, h 74CM × b 57CM. Meer objectgegevens

Unfortunately, I'm unable to find a copy of van Kretschmar's 1984 paper online; supposedly it was published in the Dutch "Jaarboek van Centraal Bureau voor Genealogie"; it doesn't seem to be on their website,

But this is a subject that has appeared a few times in "Die Burger" and "Beeld", among other papers -

1990 - 2008 -

van Kretschmar also determined that an accompanying portrait believed to be of van Riebeeck's wife, Maria, was more likely that of Catharina Kettingh, wife of Bartholomeus Vermuyden - ; worse still, apparently the statue in Adderley Street is not a likeness of Maria either, but of the "wife of the chairman of the Dutch committee that helped to organise the 1952 Van Riebeeck festival in Cape Town." (Giliomee and Mbenga, 2007, "New History of South Africa")

This portrait, at least, by an anonymous painter, does appear to show Maria -

And this is the portrait of Jan -

It reminds me of the problem Scotland had in 2009 when the popular portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie was determined to be his brother; a problem recently rectified by finding Charlie's only known portrait -

Similar - though decidedly more racist - questions seem to have been raised in 1988 regarding some portraits of Simon van der Stel - (PDF)

view all 17

Jan van Riebeeck's Timeline

April 21, 1619
Culemborg, Nederland, Gelderland
March 28, 1649
Age 29
Schiedam, South Holland, The Netherlands
April 6, 1652
- May 25, 1652
Age 32
Cape of Good Hope

•Master: Koning, David

•Master Turver, Simon

REIGER (684)
•Master: Hoogzaad, Jan

•Texel 24-12-1651 •06-04-1652 Cape 25-05-1652 •22-07-1652 Batavia

April 1652
Age 32

Commander Jan van Riebeeck landed at Table Bay on a mission to establish a permanent refreshment station and fort at the Camissa River mouth at Table Bay. Kratoa enters into service with Maria de la Quellerie at the Fort de Goede Hoop and moved into the newly built fort from the Camissa tent camp five months after the Commander’s arrival. The van Riebeecks give Kratoa the name ‘Eva’ and she was given Asian clothes to wear, denoting her status as a servant in the household.

Living with the Van Riebeeck family, she took advantage of her position to learn Dutch fluently, `almost as well as a Dutch girl'." Her induction into the Dutch language and way of life may also have been facilitated by Van Riebeeck's two nieces [actually cousins – Sharon Aprl 2013], of relatively comparable ages to Eva. One of these, Elizabeth Van Opdorp, years later took in Eva's children while she was incarcerated on Robben Island."[" Jan Reijnertz and Elizabeth van Opdorp were married on 23 Nov. 1653. At the time he was a junior merchant for the Company, but later became one of the first free burger farmers. Thom, Van Riebeeck, i, 188, 192 (8 and23Nov. 1653); Leibbrandt,PreUcis, 266±7(8 Feb. 1669). Wells, last accessed by Sharon Doubell apr 2013]

April 1652
Age 32

He and his followers camped at Table Bay and greeted Van Riebeeck when he landed.They then lived adjacent to the Dutch tents during the construction of the first fort and became the first Africans proletarianized by the Dutch colonial presence.[Wells]

October 18, 1653
Age 34
Cape Town, WC, South Africa
January 1656
Age 36

Krotoa informed Van Riebeeck of her uncle Autshumato's intentions to
move in closer to the fort.( A negative reply must have been communicated, as Autshumato, still only suspected of stealing Dutch livestock in 1654, kepthis distance for some time.
[ Wells]

Age 38

Autshumato waged war against the Dutch settlers. The war broke out when Autshomao reclaimed cattle that were unfairly taken from the Gorinhaikonas people by the Dutch.

By mid-1658, the Dutch had started importing slaves, only to find that they quickly absconded into the interior. Van Riebeeck clearly found Eva far more sympathetic to his wish to have local Khoena participate in returning the run-aways than his chief male interpreter, a Goringhaiqua named Doman. After spending a year in Java, Doman returned highly suspicious of colonial intentions. The journal records how, in a private conversation betwen Van Riebeeck and Eva, she poured out her heart about the intense rivalry between herself and Doman. She further alleged that it was Doman's people, the Goringhaiqua, who had the slaves and were likely to sell them into the interior in exchange for dagga.[See below Sharon Apr 2013]

The Dutch then gave Eva all the credit (or blame) for proposing they take two sons of the Goringhaiqua chief, Gogosoa, as hostages, until all the slaves were returned. .. Whatever her level of complicity, Doman and his people presumed her guilty of openly assisting the Dutch. Fearing for her life, Van Riebeeck ordered her not to leave the fort.

However, tensions soon spiralled out of hand. The hostages languished in the fort for over a week, and only a few missing slaves reappeared. The hostages themselves argued that they should be joined by further hostages from all the local Khoena chiefdoms.
So the Dutch took more, including Eva's uncle, Autshumato, and seized all of his cattle. In the process, the Dutch killed one of his followers, the first Khoena death at their hands.

Within two days, all parties concluded a peace treaty which freed the hostages and secured the return of the slaves. Signifcantly, it also contained clauses stating that the Goringhaiqua now gave up all claims to the Cape peninsula. So what had started out as a tussle over runaway slaves, ended up with a Khoena cession of land to the Dutch, the imprisonment of Autshumato, the confiscation of his cattle and a Khoena death, and both sides blamed Eva! It was a messy affair, which reportedly left Eva `depressed' and no doubt urgently raised the issue of where her loyalties lay. [ Wells]

21 June 1658: “Fine weather with N.W. breeze. The freeman Jan Reijnierssen came to complain early in the morning that during the night all his male and female slaves had run away, taking with them 3 or 4 blankets, clothing, rice, tobacco, etc. We thereupon called the new interpreter Doman, now called Anthony, who had returned from Batavia with the Hon. Cuneus, and asked him why the Hottentots would not search for the runaway slaves, to which he coolly replied that he did not know. [Little is known about Doman, though he was one of the important interpreters between the Dutch and the Khoikhoi in the early years. He was taken to Batavia (now Jakarta, Indonesia) to learn Dutch, and there he seems to have noticed the threat that the Dutch posed to indigenous ways of life. When he returned to the Cape, he consistently advocated Khoikhoi interests, especially of the Peninsular tribes, over those of the Dutch in trade negotiations.] The Commander, not trusting him, then called the interpreter Eva alone into his office and privately asked her whether our blacks were not being harboured by the Hottentots. On this she asked whether such was the Commander’s opinion, and being answered in the affirmative, she (speaking good Dutch) said these words, namely: “I tell you straight out, Mijnheer Van Riebeeck, Doman is no good. He told the Hottentots everything that was said in Mijnheer’s room the day before yesterday. When I told him that it was wrong to do so, he replied: ‘I am a Hottentot and not a Dutchman, but you, Eva, try to curry favour with the Commander, etc.’” She added: “Mijnheer, I also believe that the Fat Captain of the Kaapmans harbours the slaves.” On being asked what the chief would do with the slaves, Eva replied: “He will present them to the Cochoquas to retain their friendship, and they in turn will deliver the slaves to the Hancumquas living far from here and cultivating the soil in which they grow daccha [also dagga, of the cannabis family], a dry herb which the Hottentots chew, which makes them drunk and which they highly esteem.”
Riebeeck, Jan van. ‘Journal of Jan van Riebeeck. Volume II, III, 1656-1662.’Edited by H.B. Thom and translated by J. Smuts. Cape Town: A.A. Balkema, 1954.[ last accessed 6 Apr 2013 by Sharon Doubell]

June 1659
- September 1659
Age 40

Throughout June and July 1659, Eva travelled back and forth between the fort and the Cochoqua, camped in the vicinity of Saldhana Bay, at times by boat to avoid hostilities and dangers on the overland journey. While tensions bristled between the Dutch and their Goringhaiqua adversaries, the prospects of trade with Oedasoa and his Cochoqua people blossomed.

By the time the rebellion ended, however, Oedasoa had proved to be far from neutral. Not only did he decline to attack the Goringhaiqua and refuse to give the Dutch any intelligence about enemy whereabouts, but he gave shelter to the rebels and eventually negotiated a peace settlement on their behalf. The evidence suggests that Oedasoa had to neutralize Eva's independent actions. She spent much of the latter half of 1659 at Saldhana Bay, where she could not influence the Dutch prosecution of the war. Clear differences between her and Oedasoa surfaced when she urged the Dutch to send a wagon to fetch him to come into the fort. He refused to come, claiming the wagon ride would be too uncomfortable and that he wanted to attend to a sick child.'( Although a relatively trivial event, it exposed open conflict and disagreement between Eva and Oedasoa. His unwillingness to take up arms against fellow Khoena became more and more apparent to Van Riebeeck, who also began to lose trust in Eva, expressing many doubts and misgivings.') He was bitterly disappointed that Oedasoa's Cochoqua would not help the Dutch in their war against the Goringhaiqua.

When Eva had left the fort in July 1659, she hinted that she might not return. However, after spending three months with the Cochoqua, she resurfaced as Oedasoa's chief negotiator in peace talks. By this stage, she conformed completely to the Cochoqua position and tried to soothe the tensions by stressing the importance of achieving peace rather than point fingers at one another for past transgressions. In other words, she completely dropped her vituperations against the Goringhaiqua.[Wells last accessed by Sharon Doubell 7 Apr 2013]

September 25, 1659
Age 40