Simon van der Stel

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Simon van der Stel
Simon van der Stel.jpg
Portrait of Simon Van Der Stel by Pieter van Anraedt
1st Governor of the Dutch Cape Colony
In office
1 June 1691 – 2 November 1699
Preceded by Inaugural holder
Succeeded by Willem Adriaan van der Stel
11th Commander of the Cape
In office
10 December 1679 – 1 June 1691
Preceded by Hendrik Crudop
Personal details
Born 14 October 1639
Died 24 June 1712
Nationality Dutch
Spouse(s) Johanna Jacoba Six
Children Willem Adriaan van der Stel
Religion Dutch Reformed

Simon van der Stel (14 October 1639 – 24 June 1712) was the last Commander and first Governor of the Cape Colony, the Dutch settlement at the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa.

Background[edit]

Simon was the son of Adriaan van der Stel, an official of the Dutch East India Company (VOC, Verenigde Oos-Indiese Kompanjie). Adriaan was appointed the first Dutch governor of Mauritius in 1639. Simon was born at sea while his father was en route to Mauritius to take up his new posting.[1] Adriaan had a long tenure in Mauritius, and Simon spent seven years there.[2]

His mother was Maria Lievens, daughter of a freed Indian slave woman known as Monica of the Coast of Goa, or Monica da Costa.

Adriaan's governorship ended after five years, and after a few more years, Adriaan left Mauritius for Dutch Ceylon. Adriaan was murdered in Ceylon and Maria also died. Simon went on to Batavia, Dutch East Indies. Simon remained in Batavia until he was 20 years of age.

Career[edit]

Simon van der Stel and his son Willem Adriaan

He then went to the Netherlands, where he associated with the most important members of the VOC, such as Willem Six. In 1663 he married Willem's daughter, Johanna Jacoba Six (1645–1700). They had six children.[3] Simon seems to have been involved in making wine in Muiderberg. In 1679, he was appointed "Commander" of the VOC's colony at the Cape of Good Hope, through the growing influence of his relative, Joan Huydecoper van Maarsseveen.[4]

Van der Stel and his wife, Johanna Jacoba Six, did not enjoy a very good relationship and her sister Cornelia accompanied her husband to the Cape. Van der Stel never saw his wife again, though he remained devoted to her and frequently sent her money. Johanna Jacoba remained in Holland, and sent the furnishings and works of art required to fit out the governor's Residence at Groot Constantia. These included several art works works including The Fisherman, and unfinished painting by Simon de Vlieger, which was one of 13 of his works purchased by Jan Cappelle upon his death. The painting came up for sale at the auction of van der Stel's estate in 1716, where it was purchased by the Simon de Vlieger[5]

In 1685 he was visited by Hendrik van Rheede with whom he shared in great interest in tropical botany. To prevent competition anywhere else in the world, young cinnamon-, cloves and camphor trees were destroyed by the ambitious son of Rijckloff van Goens.[6]

In 1691, the VOC replaced the office of "Commander" with "Governor", and van der Stel was promoted to the new position. His house Groot Constantia was well furnished with fine paintings including the unfinished painting by Simon de Vlieger "The Fisherman".[7]

Every one of his four sons was at one time or another with him in South Africa. Willem Adriaan, after being magistrate of Amsterdam, succeeded his father as Governor of the Cape; Frans "de jonker" became a farmer at the Cape; Adrian became governor of Amboina (1706–1720); Cornelis was one of the 352 shipwrecked in the Ridderschap in 1694.[8] An expedition under Willem de Vlamingh was sent out to look for survivors on islands in the Indian Ocean or on the coast of Western Australia.

Simon van der Stel retired in 1699 and was succeeded by his son Willem Adriaan van der Stel. In retirement, Simon devoted himself to his estate at Constantia, where he died in 1712. François Valentijn visited Frans at Constantia in March 1714.[9] The estate was split up and sold 1716; the auction took four days and was very well attended.{http:/southafricaarchive.org.za}

Legacy[edit]

The town of Stellenbosch (founded in 1679) was named after him and Simon's Town is also named after him. An early ship of the South African Navy, SAS Simon van der Stel was also named for him, in 1952.

Frontispiece and title page of an edition of Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality (1754), published in 1755 in Holland.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in his Discourse on Inequality, refers to Governor van der Stel by name in a story about a "Hottentot" raised by the Dutch who chooses to "return to his equals" rather than remain in civilized society. According to Rousseau, van der Stel himself raised the "Hottentot" from birth "in the principles of the Christian religion and in the practices of European customs." The frontispiece of the Discourse features van der Stel and the "Hottentot" above the phrase, Il retourne chez fes Egaux.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Born en route to Mauritius
  2. ^ http://www.capetown.at/heritage/history/voc_simon.htm
  3. ^ Birth certificate of four children
  4. ^ Richard H. Grove (1996) Green Imperialism, p. 138.
  5. ^ http://www.capetown.at/heritage/history/voc_simon.htm
  6. ^ Heniger, J. (1986) Hendrik Adriaan van Reede tot Drakenstein (1636--1691) and Hortus Malabaricus -- A contribution to the history of Dutch colonial botany, p. 71-72
  7. ^ http://www.southafricaarchive.org.za
  8. ^ http://www.vocsite.nl/schepen/detail.html?id=10463
  9. ^ Ron Habiboe (2004) Tot verheffing van mijne natie. Het leven en werk van François Valentijn (1666-1727), p. 75. ISBN 90-5194-262-1

External links[edit]