Maria van Riebeeck

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Maria van Riebeeck
Maria Quevellerius or Maria Scipio.jpg
Born Maria de la Queillerie
(1629-10-28)28 October 1629
Died 2 November 1664(1664-11-02) (aged 35)
Malacca, Malaysia
Known for Wife of Jan van Riebeeck

Maria van Riebeeck (née Maria de la Queillerie; 28 October 1629 – 2 November 1664) was the first wife of Jan van Riebeeck, the Dutch colonial administrator and first commander of the settlement at the Cape.

She was the daughter of Abraham de la Queillerie (1589–1630) and Maria du Bois (born 1593) from France. She married Van Riebeeck on 28 March 1649 in Schiedam, Netherlands. The couple had eight children, of whom most died young. The couple arrived to the later Cape Town in South Africa in 1652. The first period, they lived in a tent. Maria acted as the hostess to guests, is said to have entertained with a clavicord, and was described as diplomatically gifted in the company of foreigners. She was from 1658 active as a money lender to the colonists, and used a slave girl as an interpreter to communicate with the native population. She is described as very well respected and liked in the colony.

She died in Malacca, Malaysia, on 2 November 1664 at the age of 35.

She has been referred to as the ancestral mother of the white Afrikaners. A statue of her by Dirk Wolbers was erected in Cape Town in 1952 on the three hundredth anniversary of their arrival in the Cape. The South African Navy submarine, the SAS Maria van Riebeeck, was named after her.

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