Louis van Bengale, SV/PROG (c.1652 - c.1716) MP

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Birthplace: Bengal, India
Death: Died
Managed by: Judith Susanna Hendrika Marais, i12j2
Last Updated:

About Louis van Bengale, SV/PROG

Reference The First Fifty Years Project

Louis van Bengale

Born c.1653 Bengal

Baptised 5 May 1675 at Nederduitsch Gereformeerde Kerk, (Cape Town), de Caep de Goede Hoop, the record describes him as “Een bejaert Persoon en vrij jongman zijnde een Benguall van natij, out omtrent drij en twintig jaar”.


  • Louis van Bengale and Lijsbeth Sanders were were in a defacto relationship circa 1678 at Cabo de Boa Esperança. [J.L. (Leon) Hattingh, "Die Blanke nageslag]
  • He and Maria van der Kaap were in a defacto relationship in 1679 at Cabo de Boa Esperança.[J.L. (Leon) Hattingh, "Die Blanke nageslag]


He married Rebecca van Makassar on 21 March 1694 at Nederduitsch Gereformeerde Kerk, (Cape Town)

Louis van Bengale and Lijsbeth Sanders were "engaged" on 17 March 1687 at Stellenbosch, Cabo de Boa Esperança. They appeared before the Magistrate and executed a pledge to marry. According to Hattingh some researchers interpreted this pledge as as a marriage; and Louis' later application to be released from it, as divorce. Hattingh argues that instead, it was merely an agreement or promise.


In in 1671 Louis' owner, Hendrik Lacus was found guilty of fraud upon which the visiting Commissioner Isbrand Goske granted Louis the right to purchase his freedom. He did not have enough money and it took him a year to persuade the authorities to accept as sufficient the sum of 50 reals, which was all he had.

He applied for and was granted land at Tafelvallij in 1675 and he used it to grow fruit and vegetables. A year later he was granted an erf in Berg Street, Cape Town on which he built a house.

He owned the slave Elizabeth Louisz who was born in bondage, before 6 October 1680. He and Armosyn de Groote van de Caep and Lijsbeth Sanders witnessed the baptism of Elizabeth Louisz on 6 October 1680.

On 27 July 1683 Cabo de Boa Esperança Louis van Bengale emancipated Lijsbeth Sanders, his lover whom he described as “mijn meijt genaemt Lijsbeth van Cabo”; and Elizabeth Louisz, Lijsbeth's children. Elizabeth was his daughter. In return, Lijsbeth was required to loyally serve Louis for a further year.

He is named as a parent in the record of the baptism of Anna Louisz on 1 April 1685 at Nederduitsch Gereformeerde Kerk, (Cape Town).

Louys van Bengala and Lijsbeth Sanders are named as a parents in the record of the baptism of Maria Louisz on 10 February 1686 at Nederduitsch Gereformeerde Kerk, (Cape Town).

On 15 March 1688 at Stellenbosch, Cabo de Boa Esperança, Lijsbeth Sanders and Louis van Bengale were sued by Louis [not very clear what this means - Louis could surely not sue himself?] for being "absent". He demanded before the court that she must marry him. Lijsbeth claimed that she was not denying her pledge to marry, but that it had actually been conditional as the Magistrate had cautioned Louis to desist from tyrannically treating her "met smijten, slaan en dreijgementen van dooden" (by throwing things at her, hitting her and threatening her with death). The court attempted to bring them to agreement, i.e.: “met allerhande sachte middelen p(ar)tijen eerst soekende te bevredighen, hebbe door haar interpositie niets kome obtineeren (bewerkstellig), alsoo de Gh(edaag)de absoluijt verklaerende, noch te kome noch te willen met dito Lovijs om reedenen vooren gemelt trouwen, noch huijshouden dus hebben p(ar)tije met wedersijds bewilligingh ijndelijk geaccordeert, dat Lijsbeth soude gaen, waer het haer beliefde, doch niet met een ander trouwen noch doen by houden, immers niet te mogen in huwelijk met een ander treeden, soos langh Lovijs ongetrout was; ende dat de Vaders gelijk begeerden de kinderen bij dito Lijsbeth in onecht geprockeert, soude tot hem neemen alleen het jonghste kindt noch een jaer bij de moeder latende, mits aan de selfde voor lijfs onderhout int sefde jaer uijtkeerende vijf en twintigh Caapse gls, doch soude Lovijs gheholden sijn, gedachte kinderen in alle deucht en Christelijke plicht op te trekken, en doen opvoeden, soo met school te senden als anders: en sij p(ar)tijen voor den Achtbaaren Raad met dit accoort vergenoegt geweest”.

An agreement was reached before the court, but it did not hold for long, because later that year, Louis sued Lijsbeth and her lover, William Teerling, and demanded that the court reinstate her in slavery.

It is unclear when the relationship between Lijsbeth and William Teerling began. He was born in England and worked for the company (VOC) for several years before becoming a vryburger and was for a while a servant and sheep herder for Louis van Bengale.

Louis fired Teerling because of his relationship with Lijsbeth and sued them both, demanding custody of the youngest child (presumably Maria); release from the promise to marry her, "haer t’enemael ten opsigte van trouwbeloften en anders ontslagen te sijn”, adding that he had failed to comply with the promise to marry because she was was not a Christian, "sy niet in de Chr(istelijke) religie onderwesen, off gedoopt was". He also demanded that the court reinstate her in slavery, “wederom in slawernij bij den eijs(e)r gestelt”. Hattingh writes that the court determined that he could get the child once he had paid Lijsbeth he full "kostegeld" - perhaps the expenses related to the child's upkeep. on 15 March 1688 at Stellenbosch, Cabo de Boa Esperança.

Will 30 August 1697, Louis van Bengale and Rebecca van Makassar executed a will at Cabo de Boa Esperança. Louis made particular provisions for his three natural children. At his death each would receive fifty rijksdaalders; he lodged the money with the Orphan's Chamber because his financial situation was precarious.

He and Anna Louisz witnessed the baptism of Anna Elisabeth NN on 20 December 1705 at Nederduitsch Gereformeerde Kerk, Stellenbosch, de Caep de Goede Hoop.14


Lijsbeth Sanders b. c 1659, d. c 1743


Elizabeth Louisz bapt 6 Oct 1680 Anna Louisz bapt 1 Apr 1685 Maria Louisz bapt 10 Feb 1686

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Louis van Bengale, SV/PROG's Timeline

May 5, 1675
Age 23
NGK Kaapstad
Age 28
South Africa
Age 33
Cape, South Africa
Age 34
Prieska, Bo-Karoo, Northern Cape, South Africa
Age 64