Johan Anthoniszoon van Riebeeck, SV/PROG

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Johan Anthoniszoon van Riebeeck, SV/PROG

Also Known As: "Jan van Riebeeck"
Birthplace: 'De Fonteyn', Culemborg, GE, Netherlands
Death: January 18, 1677 (57)
Batavia, v/m Ned. Oost-Indië, Indonesia
Immediate Family:

Son of Anthonie Jansz van Riebeeck and Elisabeth Govertsdr van Gaesbeeck
Husband of Maria de la Queillerie, SM/PROG and Maria Isaacsdr Scipio
Father of Abraham van Riebeeck; Elisabeth van Riebeeck; Antonia van Riebeeck; Joan van Riebeeck and Joanna van Riebeeck
Brother of Geertruyd van Riebeeck; Cornelis van Riebeeck and Pieter 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 Johan Anthoniszoon van Riebeeck, SV/PROG

Johan Anthoniszoon "Jan" van Riebeeck (April 21, 1619, Culemborg, Gelderland – January 18, 1677) was a Dutch colonial administrator and founder of Cape Town. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Cape Town history extract: The area known today as Cape Town has no written history before it was first mentioned by Portuguese explorer Bartholomeu Dias in 1488. The German anthropologist Theophilus Hahn recorded that the original name of the area was '||Hui !Gais' – a toponym in the indigenous Khoe language meaning "where clouds gather."[7] All knowledge of the previous inhabitants of the region was derived from fossil evidence and from rock art in the area.

1st Settlers: Dutch East India Company (Dutch: Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, or simply VOC) Granted burgher rights on 21/2/1657: Jan Van Riebeeck letters of freedom. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "...And so just about two years after King Charles was beheaded by Cromwell and his Parliament, Johan van Riebeck was given his sailing orders by the Council of the Seventeen. He was to be on his guard against, but neutral to, all nations, except the Portuguese, "whom the Company has declared to be its enemies, and with whom it is at war in the regions falling within the limits granted by charter to the Company"; and he was to beware of Prince Rupert, who was reported to be cruising with eight ships and a Portuguese commission somewhere in the South Atlantic. He was to land at the Cape and take possession and build a fort and barter for cattle and grow produce for the Company's ships; and "you are likewise ordered to correspond with the Company on all matters, and we wish you good fortune and prosperity on your voyage and the fulfilment of your trust, looking forward to the proper time when we shall be informed of your good success." So van Riebeck set out with his little fleet, the Drommedaris, the Reijger, and the Goede Hoop, from Amsterdam on a rainy afternoon in mid-December...." A great deal of information from The Romance of Empire: South Africa, by Ian D.Colvin on this and following pages: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Johan Anthoniszoon van Riebeeck b. 21 April 1619, d. 18 January 1677. Much detail on the First Fify Years site, including sections of company journals, muster rolls, slave transactions, etc.: ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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:

(presumably) the man on the portrait is Bartholomeus Vermuyden (and NOT as assumed until 1985 'Jan van Riebeeck'), 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, 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)

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Johan Anthoniszoon van Riebeeck, SV/PROG's Timeline

April 21, 1619
Culemborg, GE, Netherlands
October 18, 1653
Kaapstad, Caap de Goede Hoop, Suid Afrika
September 25, 1659