Clashes with the Khoe
with the Khoe
|The entrance to Table Bay was
probably missed by the first explorers, Dias and de Gama, and by the Portuguese
trading fleets of 1501 and 1502, all of whom passed the Cape far out to sea.
It was Admiral Antonio de Saldanha, bewildered by a storm, who
first sailed into Table Bay in 1503, and his experience did not bode well.
De Saldanha climbed Table Mountain to gather his position, and soon encountered
the Khoekhoe. He offered them mirrors, glass beads and a rattle in return for
two sheep and a cow.
He took the animals away, but perhaps the bargain had been
misunderstood. A group of 200 Khoekhoe ambushed the sailors and took the
animals back. De Saldanha was wounded.
In 1505 and 1506 subsequent fleets traded without incident, but
in 1510 a scuffle broke out and sailors were beaten. The sailors petitioned
Fransisco D'Almeida, the retiring Portuguese Viceroy to India, and he agreed to
lead a punitive expedition.
With 150 men they marched into the Khoe kraal and looted their
belongings and cattle - and even took their children. The Khoe, similar in
number, but enraged, charged the laden soldiers with spears and routed the
Portuguese force, killing the Viceroy and 64 others.
Clashes continued periodically between European sailors and the
Khoe. Dutch East India Company sailors tried to establish trading relations but
soon they also stayed away from the Cape after 13 Dutch sailors were killed by
the Khoe in 1598 upon a dispute. They tried once again to trade at the Cape
during the 1620s, but, once more, a massacre of 32 Dutch sailors in 1632
poisoned their relations with the Khoe.
and the Khoe
|The use of the 'Trade Winds'
across the southern Indian Ocean made it essential for ships to take on
supplies in South Africa, before heading off on the long journey
There was increasing trade with the Khoekhoe from the first
English East India Company fleet in 1591. It's commander, George Raymond
determined to establish good relations, and avoid the hostility experienced by
He kept his fleet several weeks at the Cape, distributing gifts
to the Khoe and trading with them, under the careful watch of armed soldiers.
Successive English fleets put in at the Cape, and the Khoe grew to know certain
ships and sailors and trust developed.
One of the barriers to dealing with the Khoe was language - the
Khoe click language was unintelligible to Europeans. They also knew very little
of their culture or territory.
A director of the EEIC - Sir Thomas Smythe - hatched a bizarre
plan to teach a Khoe to speak English. He sent secret instructions that a chief
should be kidnapped and brought to England - see
the King's English and Postal
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In this period of Cape History: