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SOUTH AFRICA TABLET 9: The Van Riebeek family boards the Dromedaris

by TimeTraveler

On the 15th of December 1651 the directors named David Coninck, skipper of the Dromedaris, to succeed the commander in case of any accident.

The day following, Mr. Jan van Riebeek, with his family and some relatives of whom he was guardian, embarked in the Dromedaris, which vessel was still taking in stores for the voyage.

Among the commander's relatives who accompanied him were two nieces, Elizabeth and Sebastiana van Opdorp, both of whom were afterwards married in South Africa.

In those days, when the United Provinces possessed the largest mercantile marine in the world, Dutch women often lived on board ship with their husbands, and children were born and grew up almost as in a village on shore.

Hence the young ladies of Mr. Van Riebeek's family probably did not look upon coming to South Africa as much of a hardship, especially as they were accompanied by others of their sex.

On the 17th the family of the chief gardener, Hendrik Boom, went on board, and a small cabin was assigned for their use.

Shortly after this, everything being at last in readiness, the little fleet dropped down to Texel and cast anchor there, waiting for a favourable wind.

Reference: History and Ethnography of Africa South of the Zambesi by George McCall Theal.


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