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European Settlement
(page 1)
The First Years
Jan van Riebeeck arrived at the Cape on the 6th April 1652 in command of a small detachment. His orders were explicitly not to establish a colony, but only a fortified trading station.

He was to sell meat, wine and vegetables and other supplies bartered from the Khoe or produced by him at a company garden. His employers, the Dutch East India Company (VOC), had no desire to pay for the conquest and administration of territory. Their interest was to stop a British occupation of the Cape and ensure the provision of vital supplies to their shipping fleets en route to the East.

Following his orders, Van Riebeeck's constructed a fort with a moat and earthen walls at the water's edge and, under the direction of gardener Hendrik Boom, beds were laid out in 'the Company Garden' just beyond the fort.

It soon became apparent that the Khoe were unable or unwilling to trade sufficient supplies. Far from being able to supply passing ships, van Riebeeck's men found themselves short of food (more...)

Thus he petitioned the company to release employees from their contracts to become farmers and 20 acre plots were allocated along the Liesbeeck river in 1657 (more...)

In a fateful move that led to the distinct multi-racial character of Cape Town, van Riebeeck ordered slaves to be brought from Asia to help work the farms and develop the settlement (more...)

The enclosure of land led to war with the Khoe in 1659 and the indigenous people were pushed back (more...)
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Heritage Sections
· Culture·
· Environment ·
History · Society
Personalities · Areas

In this period of Cape History:


The First Years

A Town Develops

Simon v.d. Stel

VOC Control

Frontier Expansion

Cape Town in the 1700s

Cosmopolitan Cape Town

The Boom of the 1780s

The VOC Legacy

Bibliography & Contacts


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