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Huguenots who emigrated to South Africa

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  • Gideon le Grand (1670 - 1710)
    Le Grand, Gideon, a surgeon, among arrivals 1700 – 1710. No descendants extant. Lorna Newcomb and Ockert Malan, compilers, Annale van Nederduits Gereformeerde Moedergemeente Stellenbosch No 1.., CD-ROM...
  • Jean Rogier (c.1673 - 1724)
    ... Suggested may have been on the ship China.. Two men named Jean Roger appear in the books; one from Picardie early in 1687 and a Jean Antoine Roger from le Bousqet (near Spain) in October 1687 * Lis...
  • Pierre Mouy, SV/Prog (c.1658 - 1735)
    Boucher's French Speakers at the Cape >There remains, in this survey of settlers from north-eastern France and the lands beyond the border, the Mouy family. Pierre Mouy sailed on the Donkervliet in 169...
  • Jeanne Mouy, b2 SM (c.1686 - d.)
    Judi Marais-Meyer register Jeanne Mouy(Moij) arrived in South Africa with her father Pierrre and sister Marie on 20.7.1699 on board the "Donkervliet". Thanks to Emmerentia J V Rensburg, trained and r...
  • Jacques / Jacob Bourbonnois (bef.1692 - d.)

Fleeing religious persecution of Protestants in France after the 1685 revocation of the Edict of Nantes (which had guaranteed their rights), 200 000 French Huguenots emigrated to countries such as Switzerland. Germany, England, America, and South Africa.

They came from two main regions in France and the Southern Netherlands, one region stretched from Flanders to the Loire Valley, the other region consisted of the arch stretching from the Dauphiné to Languedoc, which includes Provence. A big factor was the difficulty or ease of the escape routes.

IMPORTANT - as per custom in Europe a woman never assumed surname of her husband upon marriage . This custom same at the Cape of Good Hope till 1806 !

Amongst the first Huguenots to come were Francois Villion (Viljoen) (who might rather be a Walloon) in 1671, Pierre le Febre in 1683, Jean de Long, and the du Toit brothers, François and Guillaume who arrived in 1686 on the Vryheit. Actually, the very first was Maria de la Quellerie, ( from Netherlands?) Jan van Riebeeck's wife. Between 1688 and 1689 a large-scale emigration programme of Huguenots who had fled to the Netherlands was organised to the Cape of Good Hope - then a colony of the Dutch East India Company, which needed more settlers to provide food for the passing fleets. It began on December 31, 1687, and in total some 180 Huguenots from France, and 18 Walloons from the present-day Belgium, eventually settled at the Cape of Good Hope, comprising about one sixth of the free burgher population. Individuals continued to arrive sporadically until the termination of the state subsidised emigration in 1707. By 1720 about 270 French refugees had settled in the Cape. By comparison more than 50 000 Huguenots fled to England

The Here17 of the VIC/HOIK did everything in their power to suppress any French culture and language of the Huguenots The Commander, Simon van der Stel, ensured, from the start, that the French, Dutch and German settlers were intermingled (see map), and that only Dutch was spoken in schools and church - so that, within 2 generations, the French language was lost in SA, only to be recalled by the names of their farms and their descendants - many of which still bear their original French names.
Farms during the dispute with Simon vdStel - 1700-1707


  • October 1671 Francois Villion arrived at the Cape as perhaps the first Huguenot refugee
  • 1685 Jean le Long arrived at the Cape
  • 22 October 1685 Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes and declared Protestantism illegal with the promulgation of the Edict of Fontainebleau
  • June/July 1686 Francois and Guillaume du Toit arrived in the Cape on board of the De Vrijheid
  • 10 May 1687 The Eemland departs from Wielingen
  • 13 October 1687 The Eemland arrives in Table Bay
  • 30 December 1687 The Spierdijk departs from Texel
  • 31 December 1687 The Voorschoten departs from Delftshaven, Zeeland
  • 6 January 1688 The Borssenburg departs from Texel
  • 3 February 1688 The Oosterlandt departs from Goree
  • 19 February 1688 The Schelde departs from Wielingen
  • 20 March 1688 The Berg China departs from Rotterdam
  • 13 April 1688 The Voorschoten arrives in Saldanha Bay, the first ship with Huguenots on board as part of the official colonialisation of the Cape by French
  • 22 April 1688 The Zuid-Beveland departs from Wielingen
  • 23 April 1688 The Spierdijk arrives in Table Bay
  • 25 April 1688 The Oosterlandt arrives in Table Bay
  • 26 April 1688 The Voorschoten’s passengers arrived on board of the Jupiter in Table Bay
  • 12 May 1688 The Borssenburg arrives in Table Bay
  • 5 June 1688 The Schelde arrives in Table Bay
  • 27 July 1688 The Wapen van Alkmaar departs from Texel
  • 4 August 1688 The Berg China arrives in Table Bay
  • 19 August 1688 The Zuid-Beveland arrives in Table Bay
  • 9 January 1689 The Zion departs for Table Bay
  • 27 January 1689 The Wapen van Alkmaar arrives in Table Bay
  • 6 May 1689 The Zion arrives in Table Bay
  • 25 May 1689 The Drie Bergen departs from Goree
  • April 1696 The Vosmaer departs from Wielingen
  • October 1696 The Vosmaer arrives in Table Bay
  • 10 December 1698 The Kattendijk departs from Wielingen
  • 2 February 1699 The Westhoven departs from Wielingen
  • 2 February 1699 The Donkervliet departs from Wielingen
  • 5 April 1699. The Kattendijk aeeives in Table Bay
  • 16 June 1699 The Westhoven arrives in Table Bay
  • 20 July 1699 The Donkervliet arrives in Table Bay
  • 2 May 1700 The Reigersdaal departs from Goree
  • 22 August 1700 The Reigersdaal arrives in Table Bay
  • 1700 The Helmeet arrives in Table Bay
  • 1710 Pierre Labuschagne comes to South Africa on board of the Verburg
  • 24 March 1714 The Kockengen arrives at the Cape
  • 1718 Jacques Naude comes to South Africa on board of the Abbekerk
  • 1723 Jean Blignaut comes to South Africa on board of the Huis ten Assenburg
  • 1726 Francois Guilliaume comes to South Africa on board of the Berbice
  • 28 November 1787 The Edict of Tolerance/ Edict of Versailles is declared which partly restored the rights of the Huguenots



16th-century religious geopolitics on a map of modern France.

  • plum=Controlled by Huguenot nobility
  • mauve=Contested between Huguenots and Catholics
  • grey=Controlled by Catholic nobility
  • purple= (tiny) Lutheran-majority area


See Back up Project:



Franschoek Valley first farms were on the slopes of the Groot Drakenstein and Simonsberg Mountains (About 70km out of Cape Town). Here, grew up villages like Paarl; Franschoek established only in 1881 originally Olifantshoek from 1880's ' le Coin Français' - "the French Corner'), Wagenmakersvallei (now Wellington) and Het Land van Waveren (now Tulbagh , Wolseley and Ceres )
Those couple who had arrived before 1688 received farms in Stellenbosch, and the non-farmers were typically settled in Table Valley (now Cape Town). Many of the farms were named after the areas in France from which their owners came: La Motte, La Cotte, Cabriere, Provence, Chamonix, Dieu Donne and La Dauphine.



  • The master hatmaker Isaac Taillefert from Chateau-Thierry in Aisnes, 50km west of Reims, who was married to Susanna Briet whose family owned vineyards in Monneaux. His Drakenstein farms Picardie and La Brie – today Laborie in Paarl – went on to produce wines described by the French traveller Francois Leguat in 1698 as ‘not unlike our little wines of Champagne’;
  • François Retif, the son of a vine-dresser from Mer in the Loire valley. He arrived in 1688 with his sister, Anne, who married another refugee, Pierre Rousseau, about a year later. In 1694, Retif and Rousseau were allocated adjoining farms on both sides of the Berg River, which they named La Paris and L’Arc d’Orleons. Retif and his wife, Marie Mouij, subsequently moved to the Wagenmakersvallei or Val du Charron (Wellington), and their descendants would later farm on her father’s farm, renamed Welvanpas;

A Note on Medieval French Naming Traditions

"It will strike the modern reader as strange that the lady was styled Mademoiselle after as before her marriage, and the use of the title needs a word in passing. The general use of Madame to designate a married woman dates only from the 17th century and even then it came slowly into use. In earlier days the title was reserved for ladies of a certain rank somewhat as ' Lady ' is used in England. These favoured few were the wives of ' les grands ', of the princes of the blood, semi-sovereign princes, Marshals of France, certain of the highest nobility, and of the chevaliers des ordres ; also the King's daughters and abbesses and prioresses ; all these could claim the title of Madame. For other women, whether noble or bour- geoise, wed or single, Mademoiselle was the only title in use.

But whereas in the case of a bourgeoise the husband's or the father's family name followed the title the noble- woman would almost certainly have made use of a territorial name. Montaigne protested against the habit.

" It is a vile habit and one fraught with evil for France for people to be called after their estates, and one that occasions more confusion of families than any other thing. A cadet of good family, who receives as his portion an estate, whose name he bears with credit, cannot abandon it with honour. Ten years after his death the land passes to a stranger, who in his turn bears the title."

Montaigne felt the loss of the hereditary honour which
could cling round a name handed down from generation to generation, but he also felt the confusion which arose from the habit he condemns. Every child, girls as well as boys, might bear a different name and much of the significance of events in history may be lost by those who fail to realize relationships through the maze of names.

In England the eldest son of a peer may bear, by courtesy, some secondary title belonging to his father ; his brothers will use the family surname. In France not only great noblemen, like the Constable Montmorenci, whose five sons were known as Montmorenci, Damville, Montberan, Meru and de Thore, but the sons of every little squire with a small property or two to divide was known by a different name. Thus in the Mornay family the eldest son was de Buhy, the second du Plessis Marly the third de Beaunes; their uncle was d'Aubleville and his son Villarceaux, and so on throughout the whole nobility of France. And furthermore, as Montaigne complains, should the property pass into other hands the name went with it and the nobles saw springing up a new class of rich bourgeois proprietors ' roturiers ' who bought the right to use the name along with the territory to which it belonged.

One other point is worth calling attention to. On marriage an Englishwoman loses her maiden name and henceforth in legal signatures as in common parlance uses only her husband's surname. An old traveller in England noticed this as one of the peculiarities of the subjection of a woman to her husband.

" Wives," he says, " are entirely in the power of their husbands, their lives only excepted. Therefore when they marry they give up the surname of their father and take the surnames of their husbands."

In France this is not so. A woman never loses her father's surname and signs with it, at least in all legal documents, after as before marriage. Mile, de Buhy was Madeleine de Bee Crespin till her death, just as du Plessis' wife was Charlotte d'Arbaleste whenever she signed a letter, in spite of her first marriage to de Feuqueres and her second to du Plessis.


(Search, using the individual Chapter Names below, to download each as a pdf):

  • CHAPTER FIVE Cape settlers I: from the Loire to the Channel
  • CHAPTER SIX Cape settlers II: from the Rhone to the Atlantic
  • CHAPTER SEVEN Cape settlers III: from south-eastern France and adjoining territories
  • CHAPTER EIGHT Cape settlers IV: from Burgundy to Picardy
  • CHAPTER NINE Cape settlers V: from Flanders to Alsace on the turbulent frontier
  • CHAPTER TEN Some company men and callers at the Cape
  • CHAPTER ELEVEN No permanent refuge

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