Count João Albasini, SV/PROG

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Count João Albasini, SV/PROG

Also Known As: "Anthonio", "Jan"
Birthdate: (76)
Birthplace: Portugal, Lisbon
Death: July 10, 1888 (76)
Immediate Family:

Son of Anthonio Augusto Albasini and Maria Albasini
Husband of Gertina Maria Petronella Albasini, SM
Partner of ? Albasini
Father of Antonio Augusto Albasini, b1; Susanna Elizabeth Gouws, b2; Maria Magdalena Biccard, b3; Martha Magdalena Dreyer, b4; Lucas Willem Albasini, b5 and 5 others
Brother of Maria Albasini
Half brother of Cesario Albasini

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Count João Albasini, SV/PROG

Wikipedia João Albasini was the son of an Italian couple but was born in Portugal on a ship leaving for Africa.

The Albasini dam in Louis Trichardt, Limpopo Province, was named after him. He was the paternal great grandfather of prominent artist Selma Albasini.

Video of the Albasini ruins in Kruger National Park. You Tube

There is a dedicated Albasini Family on FaceBook where some information about João's ancestry has been gleaned.

Albasini Ruins Kruger National Park. The remains of the 19th century trading post of the famous Portuguese trader, Joao Albasini is found at the new Phabeni Gate, 10 km from Hazyview.

The write up on this link suggests that João's mother was Spanish and that he was brought up in Lisbon. There is an image on this page of the ruins as they are today, along with further information about João - much of it a repetition of that found on other pages linked here. in their article "Italian Influence in South Africa - Part 1 dated Nov 2010 claim that "Joao Albasini's mother, Maria de Purificacau was Portugese, reputed to be the most beautiful woman of the Portugese Court of the time".

See also European Exploration 1725-1893.

Further insight intoaspects of João Albasini's activities, identities etc. can be seen at João Albasini and the Challenge to 'Assimilated' Status, with references to his thoughts on racism ' He saw no conflict in being both Portuguese and Mpfumo, in part because he felt white Portuguese and black Mpfumo to be peoples and races 'in no way inferior to others'. "

From Ancestry 24 direct quote.

"João Albasini, born in Lisbon on 01 May 1813, was 37 years old when he married Gertina Maria Petronella Janse van Rensburg in Potchefstroom in 1850. João’s father, Antonio Augusto Albasini was a ship’s captain in Portugal, but was born in the Tyrol region of Italy. He married Maria de Purificacua of Spain. The couple had three children. When João was 17 years old he accompanied his father and brother on a voyage to Brazil and Delagoa Bay. Their ship was stranded on the east coast of Africa and João, with the help of his father, set up a trading store in Delagoa Bay. His father left for Lisbon shortly afterwards and never saw his son again. João was 20 when the exiled Zulu chief Shoshangane attacked Delagoa Bay, massacring many Euopeans and abducting João. He escaped six months later and returned to Delagoa Bay.

In 1838 he met Carel Trichardt when the Voortrekkers of the Tregardt Trek reached Delagoa Bay, and the two formed a hunting partnership. In 1845, Chief Magashula of the Shangaan gave him land on the Sabie River. João built a settlement known as Makashula Kraal. The ruins of his brick house are not far from where the Hippo Pools are located, near Pretoriuskop. In 1845 he became the first Portuguese to trade with the Voortrekkers led by Andries Ohrigstad. After a few years he settled on the farm Rustplaats near Ohrigstad and opened a shop in the town in 1847. In 1849 he had to abandon the area because of fever, and moved to Lydenburg. Again he set up as a trader, with Casimiro Simoes being his partner and Mariano Luis de Souza his clerk.

In 1853 he moved to the area today known as Schoemansdal in the Soutpansberg, where he opened a trading post. Later on he moved to Ohrigstad and lived on the farm Goedewensch. The farm became a well-known visiting place where important guests, such as President M. W. Pretorius, were entertained. Elephant hunters on their way to the hunting-grounds also called there regularly. In 1858 the Portuguese government appointed him Vice­Consul for the Transvaal Republic. He built a store, supervised the local inhabitants and maintained trade between the Republic and Portugal . He established a postal service between Delagoa Bay and the Boer Republic. In 1859 the Transvaal Republic government appointed Albasini as Native Superintendent in Zoutpansberg charged with the collection of a poll tax. This he did with the help of about 2 000 Pedi. When Modjadji, the Rain Queen, defied him, he set off with a commando and brought back cattle and about 400 children as slaves.

In 1867 Schoemansdal had few settlers left, follwing a harassment campaign by the Venda chief. A few families remained, including João, who was able to assist those who returned to the area a year later. After the restoration of the Transvaal Republic, João lived in poverty on Goedewensch because of the tribal disturbances in the 1880s and because he often had to pay for administration out of his own pocket. He continued to serve as a justice of the peace, a Bantu commissioner and a member of the district council, but his remuneration was very poor. After an illness of more than a year he died on his farm on 10 July 1888 and was buried opposite what is now the entrance to Albasini Dam. He had three sons and six daughters. Among his descendants, of whom there are still many in South Africa, there have been numerous professional people, businessmen and farmers.

One of João’s daughters, Hendrika Maria, married Christian Hendrik (Doel) Zeerdeburg in Pietersburg. The couple went to Bulawayo when he started the first regular coach service through Matabeleland. Doel was born in Pietermaritzburg in 1860 and died in London in 1907. Hendrika died in Bulawayo in 1934.

Maria, another daughter of João, married Dominee Louis Biccard who was a mine commissioner in Pietersburg. She had many of her father’s documents, including letters written by him in his capacity as Portuguese Vice-Consul. Her daughter, Tina, married Hennie Rood. They lived at Parksig, the house next to Melrose House. Tina’s son, Karel, married Steph de Kock. He was Secretary of Public Works and died in 1967. Steph, the niece of the poet Jan Celliers, died in Pretoria in 1990.

Another of João’s daughters was Anna Maria Magdalena (09 Jul 1859 – 03 Apr 1920) who married Hans Jurgens Dreyer".

Similar information can be found elsewhere - South African Family History & Genealogy have an article on the Early Portuguese Settlers - which is the same as the above.



(1813 - 1888)

Portuguese elephant hunter. ALBASINI's visit to the eastern Transvaal (now Mpumalanga) region in the 1840's coincided with the arrival of the Voortrekkers. Of liberal disposition (though he remained on excellent terms with the Boers), he became chief of the Magwamba tribe and served as unofficial 'protector' of the area's black population. In 1859 he was appointed the Transvaal Republic's superintendant of 'native' affairs.

Source: A Concise Dictionary of South African Biography by Peter JOYCE, Francolin Publishers (Pty) Ltd, 1999.

Added by Y. DROST, 6 MAY 2013


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Count João Albasini, SV/PROG's Timeline

May 22, 1812
October 10, 1851
Age 39
Louis Trichardt, Transvaal, South Africa
January 27, 1856
Age 43
Transvaal, South Africa
December 27, 1856
Age 44
July 9, 1859
Age 47
May 19, 1862
Age 49
May 19, 1865
Age 52
April 6, 1867
Age 54
September 1, 1869
Age 57
South Africa
June 10, 1874
Age 62
Transvaal, South Africa