to the East
For many year seafarers sought a trade route to link
Europe and the East in order to cut out the Arab middlemen who
controlled the land routes.
Vasco da Gama, sent by Manual I
of Portugal, was the first to reached India in 1498 sailing around
Dutch East India Company (VOC), established a
refreshment station in 1652 at the Cape of Good Hope to supply ships
of the company trading between Europe and the East.
Arrival of the Dutch
Jan van Riebeeck
Jan van Riebeeck, the first Dutch commander of the Cape, distributed land along
the Liesbeeck River to nine "Free Burghers" on March 1, 1657, in order to
establish farms. These farmers were to supply produce to the VOC company,
to ensure that their trading ships had fresh supplies on route to India
Local Khoikhoi people that settled in this area
prior to the arrival of the Dutch, were forced to retreat or to be
incorporated forcibly into the economy of the European settlers. Van Riebeeck established a vineyard on a prominent hill on the south-eastern
end of the Table Mountain chain, naming it Boschheuvel (Bush Hill). In 1683, the
first estate in this area passed into private hands. Herman Weeckens
established this farm called De
Oude Wijnbergh (Old Wine Mountain). Two other farms named "Vredenhof" and "Rust en Werk" were established nearby.
A formal winter anchorage was
established during 1743 in Simon's Bay due to unfavourable conditions in Table Bay during the windy winter season. A wagon route linking this False
Bay settlement with Cape Town led over the hill adjacent to Oude
Wynberg in relation to Cape Town and
False Bay, formerly called Simon's Bay
The Wurttemburg Regiment and a troop of Khoikhoi people were to defend
the Dutch settlement from the Wynberg military outpost established against any
attack from False Bay.
The British arrived in False Bay in July 1795 under the pretext as
caretakers of Dutch business as Napoleon was overrunning Europe. They took
control of the Cape settlement on 16 Sept 1795 after the British troops, supported by gunfire from their ships, swept up the coast towards Muizenberg.
The small farming area of Wynberg developed rapidly into a
garrison town, as the British settled a large amount of troops in the
area. Being the halfway house between Table Bay and False Bay made it an attractive village for commercial activity. Farmers now had
a new offset point for their produce besides the market in Cape Town.
Subdivision of farms took place and commercial as well as residential properties were
developed to supply the needs mostly of the military camp but also
travelers on the wagon road between the two bays.
The Cape was returned to the Dutch in 1802, but the British took
control of the Cape again after the start of the Napoleonic Wars in
Property continued to be the most attractive investment in Wynberg and soon a
commercial bourgeoisie was formed looking for social advancement. The most
prominent of these landlords were Philip Morgenrood, Higgs and James Maynard, whose estate became the
largest privately owned property in Wynberg after consolidation in 1844.
to read more about the San and Khoi Khoi
people who lived in southern Africa before
European settlers arrived.
Many free blacks and emancipated slaves were or became members of the Muslim
faith. One Wynberg property owner in the late 1830's, Philip Ryklief, described
in the deed of transfer as a free black, converted to the Islamic faith after
his marriage to the step-daughter of Abdul Logies. Abdul Logies was the first
Imam of the Palm Tree Mosque in Cape Town. Wynberg and the neighbouring district
of Plumstead became a focal point for Muslim families.