Talk:Meermin slave mutiny/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Suggested sources to help get this article to GA standard :o)

Happy researching! Pesky (talkstalk!) 11:01, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for these suggestions. Having taken a quick look at them, I don't see anything that either contradicts what is in the current article or that could be used to improve the current article. In particular, I don't see why anybody would expect in-line citations to such a short article that is based on two references. Nor do I see why the two references are not adequate. And I don't see why the somewhat colloquial style of the article is not suitable for Wikipedia: nothing says that articles must be undigestible!--Gautier lebon (talk) 16:25, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
No probs! I've used most of them now, and fixed up the article. I hope you like the improved version. Pesky (talkstalk!) 23:04, 31 October 2011 (UTC)
Again, thank you very much. I do like the improved version, it is more complete and much clearer. I think it is a bit over-referenced, but there is no harm in that, so thank you very much. What you have done is a great example of constructive cooperation to improve Wikipedia, and I will so note on the editor discussion page.--Gautier lebon (talk) 08:03, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

A few quick comments

  • Some info is in the lede but not in the body, e.g. "63,000". In fact, that specific fact looks more like 'background info' and may not be appropriate in the lede anyway
    I'll drop that info into the first section, as background stuff. Pesky (talkstalk!) 09:39, 1 November 2011 (UTC) Done
  • The '450 or maybe 480' and single/2/3 masts in lede is rather clumsy; it can probably just be '450-480 tons', and perhaps the mast-issue could just declare the most-common (3?) and have a footnote explaining other disparate sources
    The three-master information is going to be the definitive one (the others are erroneous), as the archaeologist Jaco Boshoff is working direct from the ship's plans to sort out which wreck is which; likewise as the Meermin is an oak three-master, as opposed to the more usual pine single-mast or two-mast ships (yes I can get that information into the archaeology section) she'd have been significantly heavier than the standard hoeker ships. Pesky (talkstalk!) 09:39, 1 November 2011 (UTC) Done
  • Infobox looks odd, at the moment, due to lack of image - but I think a request for one is ongoing, so maybe that can wait
    I hunted all over for a picture of the ship herself, but couldn't find one (apart from the plans). It may be possible, if we can get permission to use the plans, to put that there instead - would that work? Pesky (talkstalk!) 09:39, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
    Used pic from Voyage section here (almost identical ship) and replaced the section pif with another Dutch East India Company ship working the South African coast at the same time - same type of ship, again. Pesky (talkstalk!) 13:37, 1 November 2011 (UTC)  Done
  • Lede doesn't adequately summarize the article, and is rather short
    Yup, that needs to be worked up, I know. Pesky (talkstalk!) 09:39, 1 November 2011 (UTC) Done
  • I believe the name of the ship needs italicising (throughout)
    I'll do that today. Pesky (talkstalk!) 09:39, 1 November 2011 (UTC) Done
  • The Meermin was working the coastline... is a run-on sentence with too many clauses; probably should be two sentences  Done
  • Sec title "An unwise decision leads to mutiny" - I don't like this; it sounds more like a novel. Suggest something simple, like e.g. "==Mutiny==". Note, I did change a couple of other section headings, removing 'The' and shortening one.
    Thanks for the work on the headers. Pesky (talkstalk!) 09:39, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
  • could maintain control as an "intellectually superior" being - if that is a quotation, it needs a ref after the close-quote. If it's not, why use quotes.
    I'll dig out the exact quote on intellectual superiority, and put that in there instead, with source. Pesky (talkstalk!) 09:39, 1 November 2011 (UTC) Done the other way
  • On some time between 16 February[1] and 18 February should be "At some time" or just "Some time"  Done
  • Captain Muller was injured, and Johan Krause was killed can prob be "Captain Muller was injured, and Johan Krause was killed
    Yes, you're quite right - I shall do that thing. Pesky (talkstalk!) 09:39, 1 November 2011 (UTC)  Done
  • The ship, effectively unmanned with the crew held captive by the slaves, who did not know how to control her, drifted for three days while this impasse lasted. hard to read; maybe better: "With the crew help captive, the slaves did not know how to control the ship, so she drifted for three days while this impasse lasted." ...or something like that.
    Again, much better wording (this is why I wanted your input!) Pesky (talkstalk!) 09:39, 1 November 2011 (UTC)  Done
  • I'm not keen on the term 'group of crew' - e.g. The third group of crew were those who had hidden in the locker room close to the rudder maybe "A third element of the original crew had hidden in a locker room near the rudder"  Done
  • ...send the boats back, if it was safe for the ninety or so remaining slaves to follow. lacks a ref  Done
  • ...and discovered the deception practised on them by the ship's crew. seems to lack a ref  Done (included in the whole bit, really)
  • The 90-odd slaves maybe "Approximately 90 slaves"  Done
    Again, yes to all those, and I'll get onto it. Maybe today! Pesky (talkstalk!) 09:39, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
  • The slaves on the ship... through to {...would not be punished - several sentences - only has (2) refs at the end of that whole thing, so it's hard to see if all of that comes from the same source
    Several sources all saying the same thing for all those sentences (and often exact or close-paraphrase of same text - I'll pick the best couple. Pesky (talkstalk!) 09:39, 1 November 2011 (UTC) I think those two may actually be the best, anyway!  Done
  • Some of the referenced websites have author info (e.g. "Hunting for a lost ship") and/or date (e.g. "Slave Ship Mutiny: About This Episode | Secrets of the Dead"), so that info should be in the refs where possible
    I will attempt to get author information - though it's not always there. Pesky (talkstalk!) 09:39, 1 November 2011 (UTC) Done
  • It should probably be in a few more categories  Done
    Suggestions? Pesky (talkstalk!) 09:39, 1 November 2011 (UTC) (I added Dutch East India Company, slave trade, and mutinies) ... umm, some don;t exist! I shall go cat-hunting some more Pesky (talkstalk!) 17:00, 1 November 2011 (UTC)  Done

General comment: the prose could be improved; there are lots of run-on sentences (sometimes too many clauses separated by comma's and semi-colons, so it is hard to scan), and (I think) over-use of passive tense.

Umm yes, those are common faults with me! I'll work on it! :P Pesky (talkstalk!) 09:39, 1 November 2011 (UTC)  Done (I think)

(Just a note) I tried to straighten-up (rotate) the image "Typical conditions for transport of slaves" because it was slightly wonky; hope that's OK/better; if not, undo it

Thanks! Pesky (talkstalk!) 09:39, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

Of course, all the above is opinion - and it's only a quickie review; take it all as just suggestions. Best of luck with it all,  Chzz  ►  09:00, 1 November 2011 (UTC)

T'riffic comments! Thanks loads; I shall get around to working on fixes on those things over the next day or so. By the time I finished playing with this last night, I was pretty knackered, so I know it does need tidying up and polishing. I have another two images I'm just desperate to use, but I h ave no idea if / how to get permissions on them. One is the actual blueprints of the Meermin, and the other is a photo of the actual message-in-the-bottle which is in the Cape Archives Repository. I want them soooo much, it's making me fret! Pesky (talkstalk!) 09:15, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
The ref for "Mermaid" (in the Archeology section) is missing and I could not find it in the previous versions. Can somebody please provide it?--Gautier lebon (talk) 15:10, 1 November 2011 (UTC)
I forgot I'd made it lowercase, not title case - fixed now Pesky (talkstalk!) 16:38, 1 November 2011 (UTC)  Done

GA Review

This review is transcluded from Talk:The Meermin slave mutiny/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Lemurbaby (talk · contribs) 21:02, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

  1. Is it reasonably well written?
    A. Prose quality:
    B. MoS compliance for lead, layout, words to watch, fiction, and lists:
  2. Is it factually accurate and verifiable?
    A. References to sources:
    B. Citation of reliable sources where necessary:
    C. No original research:
  3. Is it broad in its coverage?
    A. Major aspects:
    B. Focused:
  4. Is it neutral?
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. Is it stable?
    No edit wars, etc:
  6. Does it contain images to illustrate the topic?
    A. Images are copyright tagged, and non-free images have fair use rationales:
    B. Images are provided where possible and appropriate, with suitable captions:
  7. Overall:
    Pass or Fail:


  • Very nice work! This article meets GA standards. My only suggestion is that you go through the references sections and ensure you've included publishing locations (location= ) and the name of the publisher as well. Congratulations! Lemurbaby (talk) 21:10, 4 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Many thanks! I'll double check those, and see if the information is available for them. Pesky (talkstalk!) 13:15, 5 November 2011 (UTC)


There's quite a bit about the Meermin on my talk :o) Pesky (talkstalk!) 16:20, 6 February 2012 (UTC)


This sentence:

a deadweight tonnage, or "burthen", of 480 metric tons

and footnote 1 likely are inaccurate. Burthen is not a measurement of metric tons, but an arbitrary formula to calulate size. The article on it, Builder's Old Measurement, conflates that measure with deadweight, which is not correct.

I will ask Rif Winfield to stop by and clarify this.

Kablammo (talk) 16:27, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

It would be great to get this clarified! See my talk for a bit more on this issue. Pesky (talkstalk!) 18:06, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
I believe what we will find is this:
  • Burthen is a method to measure the size of ships and is related to volume.
  • DWT is the weight of cargo and items such as fuel, water, crew and passengers, etc.-- everything but the ship.
  • Many websites conflate tons burthen/burden with displacement, just as they confuse gross tonnage with displacement. Many wiki articles do the same. In my experience print sources generally do better at keeping the concepts separate.
  • It is doubtful that this vessel would have been measured by the metric system, at least when built.
But on these matters we should wait for Rif's thoughts.
Question: why "The" in the title? Kablammo (talk) 19:45, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
I was just about to ask the very same question myself. Clearly it should be moved to Meermin slave mutiny as per Wikipedia:Mos#Article titles. Malleus Fatuorum 19:52, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
(three ecs later! lol)"Burthen" in the article reflects how the Meermin's DWT is given here ("Laadvermogen"), though comparative sources indicate that the figure given there of "450 ton" is in error – 480 is given in the article, though tbh I can't finger the source for that right now, so make of it what you will. One for Pesky? I found that historic Dutch units of measurement (i.e. "225 last") produce a figure of 450 metric tons. Anachronous, yes, but per the source – maybe that should be clarified in the arrrticle, somehow? Of course, I understand that I may have miscalculated! :o) About a move, believe it or not, this had crossed my mind, too – I see it's been done! Nortonius (talk) 20:05, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
As we're trying to get this ready for a tilt at FAC, and compliance with the MoS is mandatory at that level, I thought I'd be bold and do the move myself. Malleus Fatuorum 20:09, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Yep, like it! And, thanks from me for the time and trouble you've taken over this! :o) (ditto others, obv.!) Nortonius (talk) 20:12, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Mountain, A. (2005), An Unsung Heritage: Perspectives on Slavery, David Philip, ISBN 978-0864866226  page 204 has her as 480 tons but unhelpfully doesn't specify metric or not (implication is "not", per spelling, I think), the VOCsite has her as 225 last, 450 tons. IIRC, the bog-standaerd pine hoekers (normally two masted) were around the 450-ton mark, but Meermin was a three-master, oak-built, and longer, so from logic it seems that Mountain is more likely to be correct. Approve title move. Thanks everyone on this; my brain is currently fried and morphined due to RL issues, so I've been a bit absent (online and in mind) the past day or so. Pesky (talkstalk!) 20:39, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

P.S. If we can get a hi-res version of the original plans from Jaco Boshoff (or elsewhere!) those may mention it; I;m pretty good with Photoshop, but I can;t get anything from the highest-res image I've found of the plans so far! Pesky (talkstalk!) 20:49, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Yes, see my comment below, at 12:19, 7 February 2012 (UTC)! :o) Nortonius (talk) 17:00, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Curiosity - Why called a mutiny if the slaves were not part of the crew

Why is the event called the Meerin Slave Mutiny if the slaves were not part of the crew not under the captains authority? Is any uprising on a ship called a mutiny - no matter who rises up? Why is the event not called the Meerin Slave Uprising or the Meerin Slave Revolt?

Thanks Uncle uncle uncle 20:35, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Would Meerin Slave Uprising Uncle uncle uncle 20:35, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Mainly common usage; it's referred to everywhere else as a mutiny (including the most authoritative source). I think, technically, a mutiny covers anything like this where those under command defy their commanders, etc. Dunno for sure though. Pesky (talkstalk!) 20:41, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
I had wondered about "mutiny" too, and found this re a similar event on another VOC ship, in 1775, from a central source, by an expert on the subject of this article: "This was no common assault by a couple of slaves who had quite fortuitously been able to free themselves and had then chosen to take out their frustration on a hapless crew member. Neither was it a riot in the conventional sense of the term, where one might have expected a number of disgruntled slaves to wreak havoc on their deck for a while, to assault and possibly murder any crew member unlucky enough to fall into their grasp, and then to finally subside once their rage was spent. What was happening here was a full-scale mutiny." Alexander, A. (2007), "Shipboard Slave Uprisings on the Malagasy Coast: The Meermin (1766) and De Zon (1775)", Kronos, 33, p. 93 . Hope that helps...? That is, I would support continued use of "mutiny" here – everyone on board the ship was under the captain's command, in theory anyway! Nortonius (talk) 20:52, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Thanks! I was just curious. Uncle uncle uncle 21:29, 6 February 2012 (UTC)


(continued from Pesky's comment above @ 18:47, 8 February 2012 (UTC)) Most kind! (having a friend with a magic wand is always a bonus!) I haven't been this busy pestering complete strangers seeking informed opinion for a long time, I wonder why now? ;op But – wheee! I just got an email back about the plans! I'm pretty sure they only got about the first half of my original message for technical reasons that I won't bore you with now, and the response is similarly short. Redacted for privacy it says:

We have in our collection a technical drawing of the same Meermin, built 1760 for the Dutch East India Company. Our inventory number of this item is: A.0149 [nr 0058]. The dimension mentioned on the drawing are 110 x 32 feet. The feet are not the same as the present English ones. The Amsterdam foot is 28,31 cm. Most of the images with the Wikipedia article of the ship are rather of the mark compared with a real 1760 type hoeker of the Dutch East India Company.

— Het Scheepvaart
I think that's pretty clearly intended to be read as saying the Meermin plans are in Amsterdam feet of 28.31cm (i.e. shorter than the Cape foot etc)...? I can do the sums if you like, it's early enough in the day! I can now respond by proper email too, instead of having to use a limited text box on a website, so I'll ask again pretty please can we have an electronic copy of the plans, preferably copyright free? The fact that they've looked at "our article" is very interesting, per the opinion that "most of the images with the Wikipedia article of the ship are rather [off] the mark compared with a real 1760 type hoeker of the Dutch East India Company": that might be an extra "in" for me to ask for the plans; and they might point us (at least) to a more representative image. Though, I hope it doesn't mean Pesky's amazing work on that replica has been in vain! :os Oh, and about "1760" vs 1759 – for now I'd guess the VOCsite's 1759 might be e.g. when the ship's keel was laid down, and het Scheepvaart Museum's 1760 is when their nice copy of the plan was produced…? Maybe we'll see! Nortonius (talk) 10:25, 9 February 2012 (UTC) p.s. Email sent! :o)
Uh-oh – another email from het Scheepvaart Museum, very kind, patient and helpful but…:

Two images in the Wikipedia article are not right. They are the ones with the captions: “An 18th-century VOC hoeker (full-size replica)”. This a reconstruction of a 150 Amsterdam feet, full-size 'retour schip' [my bold]. This replica is named “Amsterdam” and belongs to our museum. … The other image is: “A VOC hoeker approaching the Cape Colony, with Table Mountain in the background, 1762”. This is not a hoeker type vessel. The other image of a hoeker is correct. It has the caption: “Three-masted Dutch hoeker sailing before the wind: Groenewegen, 1789. The "apple cheeks" of the bow (at right) are distinctive features of a hoeker”. The image of the slaver ‘Brooks’ is rather overused. It just seems to be the only one of a tightly packed slave vessel in existence worldwide .

I am a bit pressed for time at the moment, so please check the common Dutch collection data base of maritime museum for other images of hoeker vessels. The site is

On our own museum website is a photo ordering form. Click on ‘order prints’ and you will find the form. You may enter your request for the image there.

— Het Scheepvaart
Hmm…! An A4 digital file "for publication purposes only" would be 30 euros; and, I'm a bit bemused by the use of "only" there…? Maybe nothing to it. (I'll get my coat…) Nortonius (talk) 13:40, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Oh, that sounds like a bummer. If we can get a halfway decent picture of a hoeker from them, I s'pose I could paint up a halfway decent version of it to look pretty. I wonder why the one which says it's a VOC hoeker approaching the Cape isn't actually a VOC hoeker approaching the Cape ... That's odd. We need some piccies for me to do artistic impressions of! Aha ... I wonder if I can paint Meermin up, from her plans? That would be cool :o) I'll think about that one. Pesky (talkstalk!) 19:35, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, bummer indeed – I've been feeling really bad since getting that email, having egged you on to work so hard… on the wrong picture d'ohhhhhh! Can we pass the hat to buy this "electronic image (for publication only)", or what? (btw, it's occurred to me that "for publication only" might merely be explaining that they charge more for it, which they do); btw, still no word from Mr Boshoff. I've already searched the website for images of the Meermin, Pesky's seen the results and this plan is the only one; though there might well be other suitable images of hoekers. But do we want to pay for those, too?! And, are we agreed that the ship's dimensions are in Amsterdam voet and so need re-calculating in the article, per the first Scheepvaart Museum email above…? Never mind feet, I feel a proper heel now. Nortonius (talk) 23:20, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
[Pesky hugs Nortonius] (>**)> Don't worry 'bout it. "If you can meet with triumph and disaster", and all that. I can recalculate the dimensions OK, no probs. And it would probably do me a heap of good to do a painting of Meermin  – I've never painted a ship before! (I did knit one, once, just for a giggle ...) Oooh, I bet that's something WP could issue a grant for, buying the pic! Pesky (talkstalk!) 08:32, 10 February 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. Sniff. I'll hang my coat up again, then... Thanks for doing the sums etc. Yes, I've heard of these, 'ow you say, "grants"? Hmm, started looking but didn't see mention of a suitable grant anywhere yet... I'm sure I saw something about exactly this kind of grant fairly recently, too. About painting the Meermin, well, if you're up for it that would be very cool! Maybe a blend of the Meermin's plans for the hull as you suggest, and the Groenewegen image in the article for the masts, spars etc.? But if we can score a grant, maybe you won't have to go to those lengths? Oh, I forgot: last night I almost bought the plans myself (owing to a rather lovely Rioja), but decided to ask for them one last time. I bypassed the order form using the email address given there to speak to the picture library directly, so I'm waiting for another email, fingers crossed... Nortonius (talk) 10:49, 10 February 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Re On this day… – um – did we ought to do something about the infobox pic before the 18th, in case the article does appear on the main page then? Maybe move the Groenewegen 1789 image to the infobox and lose the (fabulously shopped – sigh) image that's currently there…? Nortonius (talk) 15:44, 11 February 2012 (UTC)

Yeh, we can do that one; I think it's unlikely that I'll have been able to paint her by then. Though, this might be the inspiration I need .... ;P Pesky (talk) 20:39, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Ok! Such dedication…! ;op Nortonius (talk) 20:51, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

A few questions re: Pesky

Pesky asked me to take a look at this article with a few to getting it ready for a shot at FAC, and inevitably I'm going to have a few questions for the panel, which I'll list here.

  • "The ship made landfall at Struisbaai, in the Dutch Cape Colony in southern Africa, where there was a confrontation between a group of slaves and a militia of farmers formed for the purpose by a magistrate." Was that a group of slaves from the Meermin, or just any old group of slaves? I find the apparent claim that the militia was formed specifically to confront that group of slaves, wherever they came from, to be a little odd as well.
(if I may!) I'd suggest changing this to "…where there was a confrontation between slaves from the ship and a militia of farmers formed in response to the ship's arrival, showing a distress signal." This more accurately reflects what the body of the article says, IMHO…? Nortonius (talk) 18:54, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
That sounds much better. Malleus Fatuorum 18:58, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
  • "The Meermin's crew, now led by Krause's assistant Olof Leij, managed to communicate with the militia on shore by means of messages in bottles, in a deception that ended the three-week-long mutiny when the ship was beached." That doesn't quite make sense to me; wasn't the deception that the landfall wasn't a Christian country, nothing to do with messages in bottles? So what was the deception that ended the three-week-long mutiny?
Hmm. The deception involving messages in bottles brought about the mutiny's end, so "the bottles were in the deception". But yes, obviously some unpicking to do there! How about "…in a deception which led the slaves to believe that they were off the shore of Madagascar, and ended the mutiny when they beached the ship."? Nortonius (talk) 19:14, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
The deception was surely in sailing to South Africa while pretending to be sailing to Madagascar, nothing to do with bottles. Malleus Fatuorum
Yep, the deception was that; how about "in the final move which made the deception successful" (sorry, my brain is fried atm, so tweak that as y'all sees fit). Just seen Gautier's idea; good. Pesky (talkstalk!) 10:46, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Gautier? Who (s)he? Which suggestion? You lost me! Soz Gautier, found you! :o) It's been a funny old day... Nortonius (talk) 16:46, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
What I was getting at about "deceptions" – sorry if I was unclear – is that the messages-in-bottles caused fires to be lit onshore: this deceived the ship-board Malagasy into believing that the "land to which the overall deception had brought the ship" was Madagascar, upon which the Malagasy cut the anchor cable, and the ship drifted inshore and ran aground; so, it was an Inception deception-within-a-deception… But, I can see that's too long-winded for the lead, and I'm more than happy with the way this is dealt with there now! :o) Nortonius (talk) 13:39, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Malleus Fatuorum 18:34, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

How about "The Meermin's crew, now led by Krause's assistant Olof Leij, managed to communicate with the militia on shore by means of messages in bottles, having continued to deceive the slaves regarding the location of the ship when it was beached; this ended the three-week-long mutiny."--Gautier lebon (talk) 02:48, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
But why was it by then led by Leij? What had happened to Muller? Malleus Fatuorum 03:04, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Muller was still pretty injured - the Iziko archive material says that it was noted that his woulds were still very apparent, even three weeks after he was stabbed. He was also, apparenlty, a most unimpressive leader ... he and Gulik were both "too wounded" to be part of the initial attempt to break out of the gunroom and take control of the ship. I guess he was pretty depressed by then, as well as obviously far from recovered from his wounds. Also, Olof Leij was able to speak Malagasy, and was therefore in charge (as 'twere) of negotiating with the remaining slaves. Oooh, point: how about calling them :captives" rather than "slaves", if that's any help? Pesky (talkstalk!) 10:36, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
I think it may be possible to try and work something in about the kinda-sociological foundations for what happened, somewhere: we have here a weak, ineffective, sick and wounded man (Muller), in his first command; and an arrogant, over-confident, cocky and somewhat dismissive-of-rules Supercargo (Krause), whose combined actions created the situation where a fairly organised group of intelligent captives could take advantage of their respective weaknesses. Once Krause and Muller are out of the way, Olof Leij (who appears to be more competent and insightful than either of his superiors) takes effective command of the situation. Pesky (talkstalk!) 10:43, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes indeed – I think it's ?clearly relevant, and it's all in the sources! :o) Nortonius (talk) 13:39, 7 February 2012 (UTC) p.s. There are now two mentions of Muller being wounded, in the lead…!
... and what a painful place to be wounded in, too! Pesky (talkstalk!) 18:42, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
lol! Better than being wounded in the toilet area! ;op Nortonius (talk) 18:47, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Final stages
  • "He said that the slaves on the ship had told him to do so, as they wanted to find out whether the earlier landing party was there". Seems a bit strange, as if he's defending himself. Who did he say that to and why? Malleus Fatuorum 21:53, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  • I think the source itself was ambiguous on that one; I'll double check. I got the impression it was said to the militia group he met. I'll check... Pesky (talkstalk!) 05:52, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Nope, it was le Sueur that Meyer talked to, explaining both why he'd been "allowed" by the slaves to swim ashore, and that he'd made a secret arrangement with the crew to signal back to them if there was support on land; I've clarified that in the article. Pesky (talkstalk!) 06:10, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  • "One end of a rope was fixed to the shore, and volunteers from the party of locals swam out to the Meermin with the other end at low tide." So one end of the rope was fixed to the shore and the other fixed to low tide? What party of locals? Malleus Fatuorum 21:46, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
    Ah, think I got it now; they swam out to the Meermin at low tide? Still not entirely happy about that "the party of locals" though. Malleus Fatuorum 21:50, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes, you've got it – "at low tide they swam out to the Meermin [with the other end of said rope]". I'm not entirely happy about the locals, either: IIRC Alexander, author of three central sources, has, in effect, "burghers=farmers"; "burghers and farmers"; "citizens". I think the article may still have "burghers and farmers" somewhere; and "citizens" seems totally anachronous, since these folks were occupying VOC property, as I understand it. I haven't found a satisfactory solution yet…! Nortonius (talk) 22:00, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
I think it was a mixture of farmers, burghers (local merchants and villagers/townsfolk), and Uncle Tom Cobley and all. IIRC, it was effectively "any local chap or chapess who could swim". Pesky (talkstalk!) 05:34, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
Just realised, of course, that the onshore party by this time included the VOC employees (carpenters, sailors and all) as well as the local people; so I've just changed it to Dutchmen and Dutch, etc. here. Pesky (talkstalk!) 05:52, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
I've also tweaked to farmers and burghers. The simplest explanation for "burgher" is "one who lives in the burgh". It was a regularly-used word in Olden Tymes in England, too! Pesky (talkstalk!) 06:16, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  • "The immediate intention behind the messages was to ensure that the slaves on the ship at last believed that they were almost home ..." So what was the other intention, if that was only the immediate one? Malleus Fatuorum 23:05, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Ahhh – I think that's a reference to other intentions being to request fires to be lit, that said fires should be guarded, and "watch out the ship may drift ashore"...? Maybe "overarching" would be better? Nortonius (talk) 23:44, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
I've done a bit of rewriting, see what you think. Malleus Fatuorum 01:52, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Outdent. Seems perfect to me now.--Gautier lebon (talk) 02:10, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Duh – in my edit summary for this edit, I said "this is a simple error for 9 March 1766, when the ship ran aground": I should've said something more like "[having actually read what the VOCsite says] this is ?clearly an error for 7 March 1766, when the ship ran aground". Soz. Nortonius (talk) 12:08, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

About the Rebirth source

I wanted to ref the three hours that the ship is said to have taken to drift onto a sandbank, but so far I've only found it in the Rebirth source…? If that's correct, I think we might do well to lose these three hours. Thing is, I noticed that, in the paragraph following mention of three hours, the Rebirth source says "This logbook of the Meermin is kept in the South African Library in Cape Town": reading Andrew Alexander's discussion here suggests that the Rebirth source is based on an account in Reader's Digest, and Alexander states that talk of a "logbook" there is wrong; so mention in the Rebirth source of "three hours" may also be wrong, or the work of an imaginative writer in Reader's Digest. How else can we source the "three hours"? Maybe we can't. In fact, the only thing the Rebirth source is good for, as far as I can see, is the number of Malagasy who were sent to the Cape Colony. Thoughts? Nortonius (talk) 12:55, 13 February 2012 (UTC)

Malagasy names, "warlike people"?

I see a lot of changes to this article since I reviewed it for GA a couple months ago - it looks like you're prepping for an FAC run. If that's the direction it's going, I'd like to stress trying to find some sources that are not translated from Dutch, if they exist. The names of the two named Malagasy men in this incident, given as "Massavana and Koesaaij", are clearly Dutch transliterations of the real names. The first one isn't too far from Malagasy and may have been "Masavana" (not a name I've seen in Madagascar, but that would follow Malagasy language conventions at least). The second name doesn't look like anything even remotely Malagasy. Also, the correct spelling of Toulier is Toliara (I've now linked it). I understand that spelling came from your sources, but that example illustrates the issue I'm referring to and highlights the need to find non-Dutch-language sources for this. It's important to be careful not to take everything stated in the sources as fact; where it may be an interpretation it's important to note that. So for example I suspect there was not a "king of Toulier", given the history of the Menabe region at that time, although there may have been a community leader of lower rank than king. Last point - I think it would be best to remove the awful term "warlike people". If knowing how to use weapons makes someone warlike, then there are plenty of warlike people right here in the US. ;) Lemurbaby (talk) 12:04, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Hello Lemurbaby, thanks for stopping by with your thoughts! Some quick points though, which you might like to respond to...? In the order you raise them:
  • The vast majority of sources used for this article are in English – obviously they depend on translation from 18th century Dutch, and, to some extent, from Afrikaans; but they're based on academic research, and authors and commentators in the central sources (e.g. Alexander, Boshoff, Worden) are South African. I think it highly likely that any interpretation has already been achieved in the sources, therefore...? There is a need for "interpretation" between some of the sources, but I've had that in mind while working on the article, and I believe Pesky has too, and citations have been changed to "central sources" when in doubt, or information redacted or tweaked in reflection, though I'm in no doubt that more can be done on this.
  • Yes, that's the tricky part - the sources in English that you're using are drawing on the Dutch ones. I understand it's very likely that the original Dutch sources are the only original ones to record this history at that time, but if there were any English-language (or Portuguese, or French, etc) primary sources it would be really good to be sure to include them if they do exist. Lemurbaby (talk) 06:11, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Yes. Only – for personal reasons, my access to sources is limited to online, unless I buy something, and Pesky has her own full-time, RL distractions; some sources for the article have been accessed through an existing online subscription, for example. In that sense, I don't know of any primary sources in e.g. English; though, perhaps there are some nuggets referenced by the sources that we do have, we'll have to see! In the meantime, I personally feel comfortable (not complacent, just comfortable!) that "central sources", though in English, are academic works, by South African academics (i.e. "people who can reasonably be expected to be familiar with Afrikaans and, by extension, have an advantage in reading 18th century Dutch"), who show enormous sympathy for the subject matter, and have done their best to uncover the important details. We can only work with what we have (you point to OR below), but obviously we'll have to keep an eye out, to see if we can find more. Nortonius (talk) 10:46, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Alexander is "sound" as a source  – he worked on Meermin for both his BA and MA theses; Jaco Boshoff is also clearly "sound", as the senior archaeologist on her. If we can get hold of a full copy of Alexander 2003, that would be excellent. I;m still racking my brains as to how I managed to find a back door into some of it (I know I managed it somehow, but haven't a clue how). I may have Waybacked it, or found some cache somewhere, or found a usable password into something (ahem). I really can't remember, now; too much going on in RL taking up brain-space.
  • Evidently you're familiar with Malagasy? Would you be able to suggest related improvements apart from the names you've already mentioned? I wonder where "Koesaaij" might've been from, then! I'd suggest that a simple solution to these names being (18th century) Dutch transliterations, self-evidently now that you raise the issue, could be something along the lines of "[these slaves' names are recorded in VOC sources as] Massavana and Koesaaij", after which I think they could be used without further elaboration…?
  • I could probably figure out Koessaij if you could spell out how it is pronounced in Dutch, but that would really just be for our own gratification since we can't use that original research in the article. I do agree that by stating something like what you've proposed, that would rectify the issue. I'd lean away from calling these captured Malagasy people "slaves" in every instance though, even if it's simpler. Imagine your grandfather was Masavana - you'll see where there are places in the article where there are opportunities to use other identifiers like "Malagasy" etc rather than the degrading blanket identification of "slaves". Lemurbaby (talk) 06:11, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Ok, good that you like my suggested solution to the transliteration of "Mass." and "Koes." My interest in "where Koesaaij might've been from" is that, as I understand it, there has been (still is?) some Swahili spoken on Madagascar – i.e. personal names weren't necessarily limited to Malagasy in the 18th century? If you might be able to point to a non-Malagasy source for Koesaaij, we might be able to find a RS for it, you never know! Looking here, I'd suggest that Koesaaij transliterates something sounding like "coos-ah-eye" (where "coos" sounds like "whose", and "ah" sounds like "are"). Any use? Also – I've found learning about this episode extremely moving, so be in no doubt that, both rationally and emotionally, I've found myself actively associating with these Malagasy individuals. So yes, I'm sure that "Malagasy/Malagasies" could be substituted for "slave(s)" at most points; but, I suppose my thinking about consistently using "slave(s)" has been something along the lines of "never forget the degrading position that these people have been forced into". Where to draw the line? For example, the article states Massavana's age, and says that he was tricked into slavery by fellow Malagasies: while that allows the reader to associate with the man's position (that's how I see it, anyway!), how are we to stop a reader (perversely, in any reasonable view) assuming a stereotype, e.g. "these Malagasies were barbarians"? (About stereotypes, I'll come to "war-like" people below!) I'll draw Pesky's attention to this (though obviously she may see it anyway), and see what she thinks about "slaves" vs. "Malagasies". Nortonius (talk) 10:46, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Coos-ah-eye is close, I think. Or Coos-ah-eee; or Cuurs-ah-eee. I like the possible idea of "captives" as an alternative word; see below. Oooh, or a close-to Kohhs-ah-ee (listen here for "de Groot") Pesky (talkstalk!) 10:59, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Hmm, captives… Snag there might be that, towards the end of the saga, the captives become captives…? I wouldn't mind if the article mostly used "Malagasy/Malagasies", with the point that they were slaves (obviously!) being made early on; though we'd have to see how that worked in practice. About "de Groot", that has Dutch "oo", whereas Koesaaij has Dutch "oe": how about this, for "Groethuysen"? So "ooh" rather than "ohhh"…? Ahh! ;op Nortonius (talk) 12:23, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Good point about the captives becoming captives - for the sake of clarity the use of Malagasy would be preferable. BTW The plural and singular for people from Madagascar is always Malagasy (because there are no plurals in the English sense of the word in that language). Thanks for helping "sound out" the K name. My best guess is that the first name was Masafanaha (f and v being sometimes very close in pronunciation in Malagasy and the "ha" being silent) - meaning "Soul" - and the other possibly being the word Kasay (pronounced kuh-sah-ee), meaning "Undertaking" or "Objective" (i.e. "something you want to accomplish") in the Sakalava dialect. Total speculation, so we can't use this in the article, of course. I wish we could know for sure. Lemurbaby (talk) 16:19, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Me too! Are there any sources for e.g. Kasay/kuh-sah-ee? That's so close, I'd put money on it! If we can source the name, I think it could go in a footnote, in a non-leading sort of way...? Depends what's out there! And, gotcha re singular & plural both = Malagasy, thanks. Nortonius (talk) 01:48, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Toliara was already directly wikilinked in the body of the article, as an explanation of the first occurrence of "Toulier" – no offence, but I would normally de-link the second occurrence in an article of this length, especially as it's a pipe...?  Done
  • Ah, I missed that - of course delink the second use. I think it would make sense to use the correct spelling here. No need to retain Dutch spellings in an English-language article.
  • Ok. By the way, many Dutch terms have already been "collected" in a footnote, essentially for the reason you give. And, obviously, we can't use an anachronous name: was the place called "Toliara" by Malagasies in the 18th century? If so, yes, we should use that; but how can we know? If you have an answer, be my guest. Thing is, I'm relieved that you accept this identification of "Toulier", as I found it hard to pin down! If you can improve on it, that would be truly wonderful. Nortonius (talk) 10:46, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Toliara is pronounced "too-lee-ar" in Malagasy. At the time, the only written version of Malagasy used an Arabic script so there wouldn't be any local written form of the name. The Dutch just wrote down what they heard. Knowing now how it's pronounced I think you'll agree it's the same name. Lemurbaby (talk) 16:19, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Yes, I'm convinced! Actually, I've seen it most frequently online as "Tuléar", which is pretty much what you just said, no? :o) Nortonius (talk) 01:48, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  • "king of Toulier" and "war-like people" are quotations, ultimately from 18th century Dutch (VOC) sources, as I understand them; so, this is how they were seen at the time, which is an important point, I think. I can appreciate a dislike of "war-like people" – it smacks of, well, vagueness and chauvinism – but, while it is a quotation, in this context I believe it serves usefully to underline that these people, the slaves, were normal, intelligent human beings and nobody's pawns, rather than being merely an inappropriate, throw-away expression. Supercargo Krause fatally under-estimated them, in other words, QED…?
  • The trouble is by quoting from a period source without critiquing its chauvinism or explaining its errors, it comes across as promoting that antiquated information and advancing it as fact. There are already plenty of people out there who incorrectly believe everyone from Africa is "warlike" - it's best to avoid anything that could perpetuate stereotypes. I would remove the quotation but retain the footnote. Instead state something along the lines of "capable fighters" or "experienced with weapons". Lemurbaby (talk) 06:11, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  • About "war-like people", understood – I know only too well what you mean about "plenty of people". I think your suggestion there is good. Done
I'm inclined to stick with "king of Toulier" for the time being, though, for the reasons given – according to the sources, Massavana's evidence to the VOC's Council of Justice, albeit presumably through a translator, repeatedly refers to this person as "king". Obviously this does leave us in the hands of one 18th-century Dutch translator, and there may well have been a more accurate way to describe the person's actual position – could you point to a useful RS for e.g. "social organisation in the Menabe region in the 18th century"? Nortonius (talk) 10:46, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  • I will look into this a little more to see if I can find the actual Malagasy title for the leadership in Toliara at the time (and possibly his name!) and get back to you. Lemurbaby (talk) 16:19, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  • That would be – um – awesome? :o) Nortonius (talk) 01:48, 7 February 2012 (UTC)


  • Does this help?

This paper will examine the slave-trading voyage of De Zon, a VOC Cape of Good Hope-based hoeker that plied the trade between the Cape and the west coast of Madagascar from 1775 to 1776. … The episode that is the foundation of this exploration is the commercial encounter between the merchant Truter and King Joema of Toulier, which was the first port of call of De Zon. … Maurice Boucher, in his description of De Brak's voyage to Madagascar in 1742, recounts how King Ramanrasse, an earlier potentate in the Toulier region, moved his entire court to St. Augustine's Bay for two weeks.

[Footnote] 29 The Malagasy of west Madagascar are often loosely described as Sakalava, after the Sakalava kingdom that emerged in the northwest region during the seventeenth century. However, it is inappropriate to consider all the people of the west as constituting a single homogenous community, especially as the communities of the south, including the Toulier region, did not partake of identical political practices to those normally associated with the Sakalava. I use the term Sakalava here, unless otherwise specified, to refer generally to the communities of the west coast and to differentiate these communities from those in other regions of Madagascar.

— Andrew Alexander (2007), "Negotiation, Trade and the Rituals of Encounter An Examination of the Slave-Trading Voyage of De Zon, 1775-1776", Itinerario, pp. 39–58

I think we've mentioned that Alexander was (he died in 2007 :o( ) a South African academic and expert on the Meermin. I expect Lemurbaby's familiar with what Alexander says about identity and politics in "footnote 29", I included it so you could see where he was coming from; though, you might want to improve on it! As well as naming a couple of "kings", Alexander uses the word "potentate" – perhaps that's what we should use here, given your concerns, Lemurbaby? Nortonius (talk) 16:49, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

I hope I've got that all straight – any thoughts gratefully received! :o) Nortonius (talk) 12:58, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Are you prepping this for FAC? It's great to see this article continually improving. :) Lemurbaby (talk) 06:11, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Well, I started by "helping Pesky", but I've become a bit involved in this myself: Pesky would like to see the article at FA, and it would be a first for me, so…! :o) Nortonius (talk) 10:46, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Heheheh! You've been hoeked by the hoeker! Meermin's addictive; I came across her while on npp, and saw a nice "easy" GA out of her. Then I started thinking FA ... and here we are! FA would be a first for me, too. I just want to see the article being the best it can be. It's ... "my presssciousssss" , or something ;P Pesky (talkstalk!) 11:02, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Hoek, line & sinker! ;op It's ourssss! lol Not, obv…! Nortonius (talk) 12:23, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Nah, article ownership is a mine-field ... Pesky (talkstalk!) 15:10, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Groan…! ;op Nortonius (talk) 01:55, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  • I hadn't realised that both you and Nortonius were FAC virgins, but don't worry; I've run that gauntlet a few times now, and always got to the end more or less intact. Malleus Fatuorum 01:57, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Yep it's true – thanks Malleus! :o) Btw, would we all be happy if I start tweaking "slaves" to "Malagasy", per Lemurbaby's preceding comments? And, "Massavana" and "Koesaaij" might go into italics, with an explanatory footnote somewhere? Nortonius (talk) 13:53, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
It's gone a bit quiet, so I've gone ahead, and these two changes are now  Done (but they can always be undone! ;op) Nortonius (talk) 13:55, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Lemurbaby raises a question above that I've been pondering as well. At what point does one become a slave? At the point of capture? Sale? How were those who captured these unfortunates paid? How much was a slave worth to the VOC? Malleus Fatuorum 02:04, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

IMHO, I think a slave is a slave as soon as he/she is captured! But that's just an opinion. Female slaves were often worth more than males, as a female slave can breed you more slaves, and you only need one male for several females to get your next generation. (Lucky male, if that was the only "work" he had to do, lol!) If you wanted immediate manpower, men were obviously valuable for that, but children had their own value as they could be readily trained to be house-servants, and frequently ended up in semi-privileged conditions because of this. But, as with almost everything else in life, the value of a thing (or slave) is what someone's prepared to pay for it. I think the capturers just got paid salary for the trip, which is why they often caught some for themselves, and sold them privately, to make a bit extra on the side.
With regard to how we refer to them, I'm perfectly happy for them to be called Malagasy rather than slaves, once we've made the first mention of it clear that by that, that's what we're referring to ... to what we're referring ... ummm... too many "thats". (Superfluity of metasyntactic variables, or sumpfink ;P) Pesky (talkstalk!) 07:39, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
If I was ever in the market for a slave I'd likely go for a female ... but they can be such Bolshie bastards ... no a male ... but then ... Malleus Fatuorum 07:56, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
And – why did they have female slaves locked up in the gunroom in the first place?! :os Nortonius (talk) 13:53, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
Err, I can't even begin to imagine. *blush* Malleus Fatuorum 22:31, 9 February 2012 (UTC)
Well, I suppose it wasn't called the "chamber of the constable" for nothing...! Oo-er! [hangs head in shame] @Pesky, sorry, I thought I'd seen you agree to slave(s) –> Malagasy somewhere, but didn't spot your comment just above until now: you've probably seen I've gone ahead and made that change, hope we're all happy? :o) Nortonius (talk) 23:02, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Ooh look!

I wonder if it'll make it onto the Main Page on the day… Maybe better keep an eye out! Nortonius (talk) 12:39, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Going to work on that pic this afternoon, when mother's gone away for our respite break! Pesky (talk) 12:58, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Ah, respite… Hugz. Have fun with the piccie then! :o) Nortonius (talk) 15:01, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Bleeeeerchhh! We have had the most stupidly busy afternoon; only just got back in and eaten, and I feel too knackered to do a pic right now :o( If I wake in the stupidly early hours of the morning, I may try it then. Pesky (talk) 18:11, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Ok – soz about your afternoon, and please don't stress, WP ain't worth it etc. Though, I know what it is to have something to do on waking at stupid o'clock… BTW, the On This Day for tomoz looks to be settled now, with this article at the top (per the link in this section's heading) – ordered chronologically obv., but handy! :o) Nortonius (talk) 18:41, 17 February 2012 (UTC)
Oh, I failed, I failed, and I feel really guilty! :o( I think part of the problem is that other half has had a bad back, so I've been having to do lifting and carrying of mother on my own, and I am now morphined up to the eyebrows. Mind you, slept like a log ... I shall get it done before it goes up for FA. Maybe, maybe over this weekend, while we don;t have distractions from other around. Pesky (talk) 08:47, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
P.S. It's great to see it in the On This Day section ... but I have an HFA-ODC challenge with the pic ... the "rescuers" went out a low tide that day. Does anyone know, or can they find out , what time of day low tide was a Struisbaii on around 9th March in 1766? I want to get the lighting right! I can't do her against a sunset, because we'd be looking eastwards from Struisbaai, so no sunset ... lol! That autie and OCD thing makes me probably far too focussed-on-details, but I want to get it right if I'm going to do it! Pesky (talk) 09:15, 18 February 2012 (UTC)
Don't feel guilty! [hugz Pesky] Poor you and other half, tho… I've only just managed to get online, connection was down, and my latest-version system software no longer recognises my trusty emergency dial-up modem… :o( Glad you slept, bet you needed it! About tides, I could tell you what day of the week it was when it happened, but that would be about as useful as telling you which way my house faces. And I haven't found anything to help online. I'll ask around. Nortonius (talk) 11:17, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────The nicest thing about inhabiting an area full of obsessives and people with above-average-interest-in-trivia is that someone will know! Pesky (talk) 14:09, 18 February 2012 (UTC)

Yes indeed! I've asked here and here, they seemed obvious places to start… Nortonius (talk) 14:29, 18 February 2012 (UTC)