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South African Slaves - Untangling The Rosettas

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  • Rosetta ? (deceased)
  • Rosetta van Mallabar (bef.1733 - d.)
    Reference no.: MOOC8/5.63* Testator(s):* Geertruij Catharina Nissing* 30 Maij 1733* Slaven* 1 jonge gen:t Frans van Mallabar tot 240* 1 jonge gen:t Josep van de Caab tot 200* 1 jonge gen:t Titus van Ma...
  • Rosetta Voere (deceased)
    Not to sure if the surname must be Voere
  • Rosetta of Ceijlon (deceased)
    [%281707%29 6 Feb: r Adam of Batavia and Rosetta of Ceijlon under getuyge of . Maccasser Mary, gent - Catrina , lyfygene vand 'ed: e Mr Willem van der Stel].
  • Rosetta van Bengalen (bef.1729 - d.)
    Reference no.: MOOC8/5.23* Testator(s):* Catharina Elisabeth Meijer* 4 Maij 1729* * Slaven* 1 jonge gen:t Moses van Palikatte* 1 jonge gen:t Augustus van Coutchin* 1 jonge gen:t Congo van Bengalen* 1 m...

This project is a repository for all the references to the SA slaves called Rosetta.

Please Add Info below, & go to the TIMELINE on the profile Untangling the Rosettas & add according to date any you have, using the actual name given in the Source

Profiles for Different Rosettas:

NOTE: It is important to note that there were SEVERAL Rosetta van Bengale's at the Cape in the early 1700's and one has to analyse their details and connections with others very carefully to distinguish between them.

  • Rosetta van Batavia Slave of the exiled Prince of Ternate. Baptised a 1 year old Creole (half-cast) girl "Johanna" on 14/2/1717 (born ~Jan 1716). The girl was manumitted by her owner the 'Prince of Ternate' a month earlier on 14/01/1717. This Rosetta is very likely the same person as the Prince's slave Rosette van Ceijlon. Thousands of slaves from India and Ceijlon were taken to Batavia to work there, some later sent to other areas under VOC control such as the Cape. The exiled Prince's slave Rosette van Ceijlon could thus have worked the VOC HQ Batavia for some time before being transported to the Cape, and depending on where People knew her from could be called Rosetta van Ceijlon or Rosetta van Batavia.
  • Rosette van Ceijlon She was originally from Ceijlon - an island off the south-east coast of India – now Sri Lanka). She was the slave of the exiled Prince of Ternate and the mother of his 3 children Amel, Talie and Adel born prior to his incarceration on Robben Island in Nov 1722. She and the Prince's children remain slaves until the exiled Prince requests in 1733 that his children be manumitted [Resolutions of the Council of Policy of the Cape of Good Hope (11 Feb. 1733) C. 91, pp. 108-117]. This Rosetta van Ceijlon is very likely the same person as the Prince's slave also referred to as Rosetta van Batavia
  • Rosetta van Java Jonker van Makassar's wife, mother of part-Dutch Jacob Jansz, 3 children by Jonker van Makassar and 2 children with her 2nd husband Arij Bastiaans van Ceijlon (Johannes and Adriaan Bastiaans). Jonker van Makassar, his wife Rosetta van Java/Boegies, and ALL all their children [son Abdul(lah) born ~Oct 1718 and believed to have been baptised Adolf on 25 Jan 1733 as well as 2 daughters Jamela en Raja born 1722-1725 (christened Johanna and Catharina in Dec 1731) plus Rosetta’s half-European voorkind Jacob Jansz/e were ALL recorded as FREE persons at the Cape in all the Opgaafrolle from at least 1719. Both Jonker and Rosetta were manumitted between 1717 and 1719. They are recorded as free persons with the 2 sons in the 1719 and 1721 Opgaafrolle, then had 3 FREE BORN daughters between 1722-1725, of which only the above-mentioned 2 survived.
  • Rosetta van Bengale owned by R v Java & named her owner and friend R v Java's kids in her wills (1739 / 1747). This R v Bengale manumits & marries (1742) her slave Aron van Balij. She is childless. Jonker van Makassar and his wife Rosetta van Java's children are beneficiaries in both her wills, and their mother is identified in them as this Rosetta van Bengale's former slave owner. Rosetta v Bengale calls her former owner and wife of Jonker v Makassar Rosetta van Boegies.
  • Rostta van Bengalen m Johannes Jansz v Ceijlon. mo Johannes (c1736), Frans Jansz (c1737), Jan Adriaan Janse (c1738), Johannes Valentyn Van Cylon (c1741), Hendrik Jan Van Cijlon (c1746). According to her liquidation & distribution a/c MOOC 13/1/7:4 1769-1770 and 16/10/1769 will (ref MOOC8/13.23), she was the widow of Jan Jansz van Ceijlon and 4 children are mentioned: Johanna (Anna?) Rebecca, Appolinia, Johannes Adriaan en Maria Juliana. It seems as if Appolonia was a voorkind of this Rosetta van Bengale and Arnoldus Koevoet (baptised 13/7/1732 as child of Rosa van Bengale and Arnoldus Koevoet). Her husband Jan (Johannes) v Ceylon bought the slave girl Appolonia vd Caap from what appears to be her father and owner Arnoldus Koevoet 3 1/2 years later on 4 Jan 1736 (slave transactions). So Appolonia was brought up by Rosetta van Bengale and her husband Jan Jansz van Ceijlon, but was a voorkind of this Rosetta van Bengale and Arnoldus Koevoet. One wonders if the father could not just 'give' her over to the mother's care - did she have to be 'bought', or was he just being somewhat wonders what kind of person Arnoldus Koevoet was......Fortunately Appolonia and her mother were united and remained close life-long, as evidenced to her being mentioned in her mother's 1769 will.So the story that seemed to have a bit of a sad beginning had a happy ending.
  • Rosetta van Macassar do Albert Van Macassar & Lena Van De Kust bap 1715
  • Rosetta do Roselijn Van Macassar
  • Rosetta can Ceijlon 6 Feb 1707 burgher slave baptism of dogter Catrina, father Adam of Batavia, owner Willem v d Stel. Catharina was bought by WA vd Stel on 20/6/1704 aged 18 so she would have been born ca 1686 and would have been ~21 years old when baptised. This also means her mother Rosetta van Ceylon would have been born ~1670 or earlier, so would not have been the same Rosette van Ceijlon who was the slave of the Prince of Ternate and had 3 children with him before he was incarcerated in 1722.
  • Rosetta van Bengale x 1758 Johannes Jansz, widower of Rosaleijn van Bengale (latter seems + ca1757) This is NOT the same couple as the Rosetta van Bengale who x Jan (Johannes) Jansz van Ceijlon in 1737. Just coincidentally similar names!!!

Data on Place Names

- so Rosetta van Java (aka Batavia?) is only likely to be an aka for Rosetta van Boegies/Macassar, if her husband, Jonker van Macassar, is from Bugis.

The interchangeability of Jonker van Makassar's wife's toponyms in differnt documents as from Java, Noegies or Makassar is understandable when taking into account the historic backdrop at the time. There was massive migration in the latter part of the 1600's in this area (1669-1696) - an exodus of thousands of people, especially noblity involved in trade with the Portuguese in Sulawesi, after the Dutch took over trade there. People from Sulawesi (makassar/Boegies) fled in their thousands to other nearby areas, including Java where diaspora communities were set up. People living in Java prior to being transported to the Cape could thus well originally have been from Bugis or Makassar prior to the take-over of trade and could easily be referred to by all or any of those toponyms. In the case of Jonker's wife she was called by a range of toponyms in opgaafrolle and other documents - but all essentially showing an INDONESIAN origin, and her identity as Jonker's wife concurrent with this.(See detail recent Familia article)

As per Networks of Empire: Forced Migration in the Dutch East India Company: "perhaps the most dramatic demonstration of group flight were the migrations of Bugis and Makassarese nobles and their followers in the wake of cintinued disturbances during the course of the 17th century (1669-1696), especially after the Dutch combined with the Bugis leader Arung Palakka to defeat Makassar in 1669. As many as 2000 individuals could be included in one fleet, and because of their reputation as fighters and traders most kins were ready to receive them. In Sumbawa, Flores, Java, Madura, etc...."

There is a fascinating book written by Kerry Ward - Networks of Empire: Forced Migration in the Dutch East India Company, which we cited in our article. It deals with these migrations which sometimes were voluntary to other areas in Indonesia, and other times resulted in people being enslaved and taken to other VOC strongholds, including the Cape.

Considering that he was called “Jonker” which was a Dutch form of address for a nobleman or son of a nobleman, it is quite possible that Jonker’s family could have suffered this fate, resulting in him eventually being enslaved and taken to the Cape. Ditto for Rosetta's family. So she could have been born in Boegies/Makassar on Sulawesi, but fled or was taken to Java in this extreme political turmoil and lived there before being enslaved and taken to the Cape. The fact that Jonker spoke Portuguese further strengthens the theory that they may have been some of this nobility diaspora who fled or were forcefully moved after the Dutch destroyed their trade links with the Portuguese.

While most freeblacks were very poor, soon after being manumitted Jonker was able to own a fishing boat and purchase slaves of his own. In his 1727 estate he left 4 slaves to serve his family members. He was without doubt very hardworking, but his business acumen, ambition and will to improve his family’s lifestyle could perhaps also be an indication of a privileged prior life.

  • TERNATE is on the North Maluku Island of Indonesia - quite a distance away beyond Java/Sulawesi.

  • BATAVIA (now Jakarta) is on JAVA. It was the VOC's head quarters.

Rosetta van Ceijlon could be Rosetta van Batavia (who, documentation tells us baptised a half-cast daughter Johanna, owned by the exiled Prince of Ternate in 1717.

The toponym "van Batavia" does not necessarily mean someone was born there, it was the VOC HQ and thousands of people especially from India and Ceijlon were transported there, some would have stayed there for periods of time. So 'van Batavia" is probably not a very useful toponym to assess birth origin, it is more likely an indication of a person having been enslaved elsewhere and having worked in Batavia before later being brought to the Cape.

Rosetta van Java was married to Jonker van Makassar and they both appear in the 1719 & 1721 Opgaafrolle with only 2 sons. No daughter. One of these sons Jacob Jansz was a part-European voorkind of Rosetta by a Dutchman from Amsterdam. Jonker v Makassar and Rosetta van Java were muslims, Jonker van Makassar died a muslim in Oct 1727. Rosetta converted to the Christian faith and baptised her 2 sons by her next husband inon-Christian Arij Bastiaans, as well as the two daughters she had with Jonker van Makassar (born 1722-1725 as per opgaafrolle) in 1730-31. Sadly Rosetta died whilst still of childbearing age in Dec 1731. One of the daughters born about 1722/3 was baptised Johanna in 1731, aged about 8 or 9. She got married quite late in her life to a German physician Johan(nes) Braun Olckers on 12/10/1755 and they only had one child, a son Johannes Adolphus baptised 16/5/1762. Johanna Jonker born ~1722/3 would have been about 39 years old when she had this child.

Rosetta van Batavia was the Prince of Ternate's slave and had a Creole daughter (part-European) around January 1716 who was manumitted aged 1 called Johanna van der Kaap by the child's owner the Prince of Ternate on 14/1/1717 and baptised by her mother a month later on 14/2/1717 as Johanna. This part-European Johanna van der Kaap was thus definitely NOT Johanna Jonker.

  • BENGAL is in north-east India
  • CEYLON (now Sri Lanka) is an island off India – but sufficiently far apart from Bengale to be unlikely to be confused. Even further away from Indonesia, and also not likely to be confused with birth origins such as Java, Boegies or Makassar.

If you read the stamouers article (especially the full length version as published in familia) in detail and take note of the opgaafrol entries and baptismal witness entries it is very clear that the Rosetta who married and had 2 sons with Arij Bastiaans van Ceijlon was the widow of Jonker van Makassar, recorded by a few Indonesian toponyms but called Rosetta van Java by Jonker himself in his will. She NEVER took the toponym van Ceijlon and was clearly of Indonesian origin.

We know that a Rosetta van Bengale (freed 1734) married a Johannes Jansz van Ceylon.

He had nothing to do with Arij Bastiaans whom Jonker van Makassar's widow Rosetta van Java married. And neither did the Rosetta van Bengale who married Jan (Johannes) Jansz van Ceijlon have any connection to the Jonker family.

So the "Rosetta van Jaffnapatnam" who was sold on 12 May 1702 by Gerrit Koek to Cape Governor Willem Adriaan van der Stel for Rds. 95 - could be an aka for a Rosetta van Ceijlon but not for a Rosetta van Java.

Definitely not Rosetta van Java. She was from Inonesia. Thousands of people were enslaved from all over India and Ceijlon, incl Jaffnapatnam. No documented evidence has been found to definitively connect Rosetta van Jaffnapatam and Rosetta van Ceijlon as being the same person.