The Early Dutch Settlers of South Africa
This project is devoted to the Dutch Settlers in South Africa. Please only add the profiles of the Stamvaders/Progenitors who came from The Netherlands/Holland.
Although not Dutch settlers from Belgium are included in this project - see below.
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- Please add the profiles of Dutch Progenitors - (not their entire families and descendants!) and also those of prominent, famous Dutch. This is easily done from the profile page using the Add to project link.
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Dutch settlement in South Africa began in March 1647, the Dutch ship Nieuwe Haarlem, wrecked at the Cape. The shipwreck victims built a small fort named "Sand Fort of the Cape of Good Hope". They stayed for nearly one year and were rescued by a fleet of 12 ships under the command of W.G. de Jong. Jan van Riebeeck was aboard one of these ships.
A few years later, in 1652, persuaded by some of those who had been wrecked in 1647 the Dutch East India Company's (VOC) established a supplies station at the Cape of Good Hope under the command of Jan van Riebeeck. The party was made up of 90 Calvinist settlers. They arrived in the bay of today's Cape Town, on 6 April 1652, on board five ships, the Reijer, the Oliphant, the Goede Hoop, the Walvisch end the Dromedaris.,
The object was not to develop a colony but to establish a port of call to service the Dutch ships travelling between the Netherlands and its trading posts in the east, supplying meat, vegetables fruit, wine and wheat. One of the aims of the settlement was to increase revenue for the VOC who controlled trade with the free burgers, the Khoikhoi and passing ships.
The station was initially staffed with VOC officials, and supplemented by ‘free burgers’ who were demobilised soldiers and sailors who were instructed to grow produce. The small initial group of free burghers steadily increased in number and began to expand their farms further north and east into the territory of the Khoikhoi who were driven from their traditional lands. The first European child was born at the Cape on 3 June 1652. [Who was this]
Enslaving the KoiKhoi was forbidden by the VOC, and so in order to meet the labour demands of the settlers from 1658 slaves were imported to the Cape in large numbers from Indonesia, India, Madagascar and Mozambique. In 1660, a Dutch ship arrived carrying 150 slaves from Angola. In May 1662, there were 39 free farmers, 15 of them married.
In 1679, the colony had 289 Europeans of whom 142 were free-burghers and 191 slaves. The free-burghers were in mostly tavern-keepers or craftsmen and shopkeepers. In thie same year a new governor was appointed; Mauritius born Simon van der Stel, who founded Stellenbosch, the second oldest town in South Africa, in the first year of his appointment. During the twenty years of his government he promoted the immigration of new families from The Netherlands, built a new hospital and developed the colony
In the 1680s 50 more Dutch and German farmers and women from orphanages arrived and at the end of the decade 200 by Hugenots arrived. In 1691, the population was 1000 Europeans and 400 Slaves. In 1695 there were still only 340 free-burghers. From this point onwards the white population increased naturally to about 1300 by 1700.
A smallpox epidemic in 1713 killed about a quarter of the whites and estimates for 1717 put the population at 744 officials, about 2000 free burghers and over 2700 slaves (South African History Online 2006b).
Useful Links - Webpages etc.
- A short History of Holland
- The Dutch in South Africa, to 1774
- The Dutch Settlement
- Colonization in South Africa
The following are some who arrived in the 17th C
Harmen Barentsz from Rotterdam on the De Schelde; sailor; a.1688; freed 1691
Early Belgian presence in Africa was mostly in the Congo, which was run as a personal fiefdom of Leopold, King of Belgium. Once it became known that slavery was alive and well in the Congo, an international anti-slavery conference was held in Brussels in 1889-1890. In 1908, in return for £3.8 million, Leopold handed over control of the Congo to the Belgian state, making it a Belgian colony rather than a personal possession of the king.
Flemish (Dutch-speaking) Walloons (French-speaking)
Thousands of Flemish along with the Dutch, migrated to the Republic of South Africa for many years between the 17th century and the 20th century. Immigration to RSA has slowed down drastically, but the remnants of a huge Flemish population still exist in Southern Africa.
Huguenot Walloon Immigration to South Africa by Lesley Robertson
There are 687 Netherlands and Belgium volunteers listed in the Anglo-Boer War Museum database – Search these pages.