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DNA Mapping of the Slave Routes to Southern Africa

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  • Douglas James Roy Matthews (1921 - 2000)
  • Maria Jacobs van Batavia, SM/PROG (bef.1665 - c.1717)
    All below added on 4/11/2014 : * Reference no.: MOOC10/1.78* Testator(s): Abraham de Veij* 28 April 1713 Vendu Rol der goederen naergelaten en met ’er dood ontruijmt bij den vrij Chinees Abraham de Vei...
  • Christijn Pietersz van de Caep (aft.1664 - aft.1719)
    Delia Robertson, compiler of "First Fifty Years - a project collating Cape of Good Hope records (FFY), has recently (2022) reviewed available material relating to this profile and states "I am now of t...
  • Rangton van Bali (1673 - 1720)
    [* ]Reference no.: MOOC10/2.14* Testator(s):* Rangton van Balij* 4 Maij 1720* J:s Cruse* Vendu rol van soodanige goederen als 'er met 'er doot sijn ontruijmt en nagelaten door Rangton van Balij, gewese...
  • Delila van Boegies (1779 - d.)
    Parket v: Macassar* Arend v: Mosambicque* Delila v: Boegies

This is a project I Sharon have been publicly talking about doing for a long long time. It's one of those niche areas of human research that you know someone is going to do a very significant inter-disciplinary PhD on - sometime in the near future. But, until then - it exists as a huge aporia that we need to fill in order to be able to work with the data we're garnering on Geni, in a way that renders it slightly more meaningful for the World tree...

To begin with, I'm slotting the Slave progenitors whose DNA we have provisionally extrapolated from their descendants' test results, under the place from which they are most likely to originate. Please come and help us

  1. Validate the the paper trails by adding Sources wherever we can, and prompting managers to make the profiles public.
  2. Discuss the accuracy of the purported places of origin.

Mapping the SA Slave Trade - Overview

The historian Robert Shell has estimated that between 1652 and 1808, when the slave trade was abolished, an estimated total 63 000 slaves were imported to the Cape, from the African continent (26.4%), Indian sub-continent (25.9%), Madagascar (25.1%) and Indonesia (22.7%). The slaves that came to the Cape were brought here in three ways:

  • 1. Through voyages sponsored by the Dutch East India Company (VOC), which sent slave ships from the Cape, primarily to Madagascar and outlets on the south-eastern coast of Africa.
  • 2. Through VOC ‘return’ fleets sailing from Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and the East Indies back to the Netherlands, bringing a few personal slaves from that region with them.
  • 3.From foreign slavers en route to the Americas from Madagascar, Mozambique and East Africa who sometimes sold a few slaves in the Cape before heading off to the great slave markets of the Americas.

In the early eighteenth century about half the slaves at the Cape came from India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and approximately a fifth came from South-East Asia. The remainder were primarily from Madagascar and the south-eastern corner of Africa. During the last decades of VOC rule however, most slaves came from Mozambique. - See more at:



The very first two shiploads of slaves to arrive at the Cape in 1658 come on board the Hasselt (28 March, 125 people) and the Amersfoort (6 May, 228 people): both from the West Coast of Africa, namely Benin (formerly called "Guinea"/Dahomey) and Angola. But these slave shipments were in fact, with the exception of a few individuals, the only West African slaves to be brought to the Cape during VOC rule. Of these, 92 Angolans & 80 Guineans are shipped on to Jakarta (Batavia). Of those who survive amongst the rest left at the Cape, eventually 3 men & 3 women of the Guineans; & 3 men & 5 women of the Angolans become manumitted free-blacks. These people assimilate into the free burgher communities & their genetics are well represented in the South African 'White' population today.

Dahomey / "Guinea" (Benin)

228 slaves purchased at Popo (now Grand Popo) brought on one VOC slaving voyage on the Amersfoort on 6 May 1658.

*Koddo van Guinea

*Ansela van de Caap (mother, a slave from Guinea) Haplogroup L0a1b2

mtDNA Descendants on Geni:

*Regina van Rapenberg van Guinea Predicted Haplogroup L0a1b2a

Possible mtDNA Descendants on Geni:


The Angolan slaves who had arrived on the first slave shipment on 28 March 1658 - on the Hasselt, were taken from a Portuguese slaver captured off the South American coast. They had been obtained from the Mbundu tribes (Kasanje & Matamba) of Angola. By 1663 there are only 5 men & 12 women from Angola belonging to the Company.

*Maaij Claesje van Angola Predicted Haplogroup L4b2b

mtDNA Descendants on Geni:



Malagasy (Madagascar)

Until 1672 the Dutch trade with slaves in Madagascar had been only through the ports of Antongil Bay and St. Augustine Bay, the far more lucrative Boina Bay coast was being used by Portuguese and Arab slave traders. In 1673 however, the Dutch captured an English slaver, bringing its cargo of 184 Malagasy slaves to the Cape and revealing to the Dutch the secret of the Boina Bay slave-trade. For the next century the Dutch sent slavers quite regularly from the Cape to Boina Bay, and other Malagasy coasts and port, establishing a proper slave-trade route between Madagascar and the Cape.Between 1731 and 1765 more and more slaves were bought from Madagascar as the Company began to look for more lucrative slave markets that would sell them physically strong slaves that could do hard labour, rather than the household slaves from the Indies. In their search for slaves for hard labour the Company turned primarily to Madagascar, whose King’s were willing and eager to trade with the Company. Of the slaving trips specifically organised by Company ships for the explicit purpose of bringing slaves to the Cape, almost 66% of the slaves bought were Malagasy. 2820 slaves were brought from Madagascar on 33 VOC slave voyagers between 1652 & 1795 The Company, however, tended not to change the names of their slaves, particularly not those purchased in Madagascar, and so the Malagasy names, such as Leidzare, Lambo, Ratzi, Calle Mironde, Ignore and so forth, abound in the company books. The Malagasy slaves, although originally disliked, were soon seen as being very industrious and hardworking. Many Malagasy slaves were sent to work on the farms in the Hottentot-Hollands. - See more at:'''

*Lijsbeth Arabus Predicted Haplogroup L3b3

possible mtDNA Descendants on Geni:


During the last decades of VOC rule, most slaves came from Mozambique. 974 were slaves brought on 5 VOC slaving voyages between 1750-1795. The Mozambican slaves that were imported in the late eighteenth century were regarded highly as farm labourers.

Delagoa Bay (Maputo)

About 280 slaves imported by the VOC from here on several slaving journeys between 1700 & 1749. The slaves from Delagoa Bay were held in low esteem and were frequently documented as murderous and thievish. One diarist describes the ‘villainous slits’ that these slaves have cut into their faces, which made the settlers suspect of them. The dislike of the settlers for the Delagoa Bay slaves had the unfortunate consequence that these people were mostly housed in the basement of the company Slave Lodge and were given the dirtiest and meanest tasks. Even their deaths were recorded separately from those of other slaves. - See more at:'''




In the early eighteenth century about half the slaves at the Cape came from India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Many of the Freeburghers personal and household slaves came from these regions on the Indian subcontinent and in South-East Asia. - See more at:'''

*Johanna Petronella Basson Haplogroup M66b

mtDNA Descendants on Geni:



*Anna Groothenning van Bengale Haplogroup M49c1

mtDNA Descendants on Geni:

*Constantia van Bengale Haplogroup ?

mtDNA Descendants on Geni:

*Rebekka van Bengal Haplogroup R30a1a

mtDNA Descendants on Geni:

Coromandel Coast

A fairly constant source of slaves also came from what was called the Coromandel, the east coast of India, where the VOC had, very early on in the sixteenth century, established trading stations to trade in cotton. When there was war or famine in the Coromandel region the slave trade would boom as prisoners of war or excess family members were sold off into slavery. During one famine period in 1659-61, 8000 to 10 000 slaves were exported from the region to Ceylon, Batavia and Malacca by the VOC.

An important early progenitrix / stammoeder from Coromandel is: [Catharina "Groote Catrijn" van Paliacatta, SM/PROG]

DNA results from her direct descendent show rare mtDNA LOa2a2aa1, linked specifically to a rare Indian lineage found in the Dawoodi Bohra population of Tamil Nadu and in Western Yemen, likely evidence of a migration of a Shia sect of Islam from Yemen that might have migrated due to persecution by the Sunni majority of Yemen sometime after the 12th century AD. There is compelling DNA evidence that this branch was involved in the transatlantic slave trade, because the same marker shows up in Mexico and Dominica (see discussion:

Mansell notes ( "Especially relevant to Groote Catrijn’s situation is a second short-lived boom in the export of Coromandel slaves which occurs during a famine following the revolt of the Nayaka Hindu rulers of South India (Tanjavur, Senji & Madurai) against Vijayanagara overlordship (1645) and the devastation of the Tanjavur countryside by the Bijapur army. Indigenous informants recount more than 150,000 people being taken by the invading Deccani Muslim armies to Bijapur and Golconda so that 2,118 slaves are exported to Batavia (1646) – the overwhelming majority from southern Coromandel. Some slaves are also acquired further south at Tondi, Adirampatnam and Kayalpatnam."

In the extract of her sentencing Catharina van Paliacatta is described as a Moorish slave girl (sic. Moorse slavinne).

"Groote Catrijn’s Death Sentence & Pardon – Extracts from Sentence Book at Batavia CAPE ARCHIVES (CA): COURT OF JUSTICE (CJ) 281, no. 44 (16 November 1656) Alsoo Catharina geboortich van Paliacatte out na aensien omtrent 25 jaeren en Moorse slavinne van Maria Magdalena vrije vrou ende jinwoorten desen stede ..." (p.139 Cape Mothers by M. Upham)

Malabar Coast

(There is also a Malabar in Java, Indonesia. – I haven’t been able to work out if it was so named during the slave trade [Sharon])

*Catharina van Malabar Confirmed Haplogroup U2c1

[Confirmed U2c1 by triangulation of Fanie van Heerden, Reginald Horne and Shirley Bihl Paladin's genetic test results]

mtDNA Descendants on Geni:

Ceylon (Sri Lanka)

In the early eighteenth century about half the slaves at the Cape came from India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).



After the 1660s however, more and more slaves were being imported from Indonesia and Malaysia, where local slave traders would acquire slaves through warfare and raiding expeditions and sell them on to the Dutch. Macassar, in Sulawesi, became a very prominent place from which slaves were taken to the Cape, making it a region that was strongly represented in Cape slave society. Many of the Freeburghers personal and household slaves came from these regions on the Indian subcontinent and in South-East Asia. In the early eighteenth century, approximately a fifth of the SA slaves came from South-East Asia. - See more at:'''


Batavia (Jakarta)

*Maria Jacobs van Batavia De Veij Predicted Haplogroup U2b

-slave owned by the VOC

mtDNA Descendants on Geni:

Celebes (Sulawesi)


(There is also a Macassar in Mozambique – I haven’t been able to work out if it was so named during the slave trade [Sharon])

Bougies (Bugis)


*Inabe van Timor Haplogroup N

mtDNA Descendants on Geni:


Extrapolated DNA of Slave ancestors brought to Southern Africa - unsure from where they or their parents came:

*Jannetje Bort Haplogroup M30c

mtDNA Descendants on Geni:


Resources PLEASE ADD!


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