Explorers and Merchants
|The Dutch and
|In the late sixteenth
century Iberian dominance of Asian trade was surpassed by the English (EEIC)
and Dutch (VOC) East India Companies (more..).
The use of the 'trade winds' across the southern Indian Ocean
meant that sailors no longer had the opportunity to replenish stocks at bases
in east Africa. The Cape therefore became more strategically important and the
English, in particular, increased their trade with the Khoe
As early as 1608 sailors submitted reports pressing the EEIC to
establish a permanent English settlement at the Cape. One can imagine that as
they set out tents along the beaches, and traded under the hot sun with the
unpredictable Khoe, the idea of a permanent British supply post seemed very
English sailors feared the VOC would take control of the Cape,
and EEIC mariners unilaterally declared the land annexed to Britain in 1605 and
again in 1620 - but for political reasons the British government ignored these
claims and they were not ratified.
In 1644 the VOC's Mauritius Eylant foundered on the rocks of Mouille Point and
250 men were forced to live on the shore of Table Bay for four months. Three
years later the Haarlem ran aground at Granger Bay and 62 VOC sailors were left
for a year in a makeshift fort made of ship's salvage.
Their experience, however, was not as the Dutch expected. They
sent reports to the Directors of the VOC to allay fears. They declared that the
Khoekhoe were not ferocious cannibals - as rumoured - but friendly, and willing
to live on good terms with Europeans. They also reported on the available
resources and fertile soils, and how they had provided not only for themselves
but also supplied passing ships.
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· Culture ·
In this period of Cape History: