Dutch Empire/Governors of Cape Colony

The Governors of Cape Colony. From 1651-1691 they were called Commanders.

  Name In Office Notes
1 Jan van Riebeeck 1652–1662 Was the founder of Cape Town, he was charged with building a fort, with improving the natural anchorage at Table Bay, planting fruit and vegetables and obtaining livestock from the indigenous Khoi people.
2 Zacharias Wagenaer 1662–1666
3 Cornelis van Quaelberg 1666–1668
4 Jacob Borghorst 1668–1670
5 Pieter Hackius 1670–1671
6 Albert van Breugel 1672
7 Isbrand Goske 1672–1676
8 Johan Bax dit van Herenthals 1676–1678
9 Hendrik Crudop 1678–1679
10 Simon van der Stel 1679–1699 He became Commander at the Cape in 1679. The following year the town of Stellenbosch was founded, and named after him. In 1691 he was promoted to Governor of the Cape. He retired in 1699
11 Willem Adriaan van der Stel 1699–1707 During his rule, van der Stel was viewed as corrupt and dictatorial. He spent much of the VOC money granted to him on his private estate. Fearing that the discontent might cause some burghers to become spies for the French, the VOC dismissed van der Stel, and ordered his return to the Netherlands.
12 Johannes Cornelis d’Ableing 1707–1708
13 Louis van Assenburg 1708–1711
14 Willem Helot 1711–1714
15 Maurits Pasques de Chavonnes 1714–1724
16 Jan de la Fontaine 1724–1727 After Governor Pasques de Chavonnes' demise de la Fontaine served as acting governor from 8 September 1724 to 25 February 1727.
17 Pieter Gijsbert Noodt 1727–1729 In 1727 Noodt succeeded de la Fontaine as governor until his sudden death on 23 April 1729.
18 Jan de la Fontaine 1729–1737 After Noodt's demise, de la Fontaine was again appointed as acting governor. He was finally appointed as official governor of the Cape on 8 March 1730. His service is described as "quietly efficient". Under his rule the area up to the Little Karoo valley was explored. He colonised the Mossel Bay area in 1734 by erecting a stone beacon displaying the VOC's and Dutch Republic's coats of arms.
19 Adriaan van Kervel 1737 Died after 3 weeks in office.
20 Daniël van den Henghel 1737–1739
21 Hendrik Swellengrebel 1739–1751
22 Ryk Tulbagh 1751–1771 As a 16-year old, he enlisted with the VOC and in 1716 embarked on the ship Terhorst to South Africa. The town of Tulbagh was named after him.
23 Joachim van Plettenberg 1771–1785 The town of Plettenberg Bay was named after him in 1779.
24 Cornelis Jacob van de Graaff 1785–1791
25 Johannes Izaac Rhenius 1791–1792
26 Sebastiaan Cornelis Nederburgh and Simon Hendrik Frijkenius 1792-1792
27 Abraham Josias Sluysken 1793–1795
- British Rule 1795–1803
28 Jacob Abraham Uitenhage de Mist 1803–1804
29 Jan Willem Janssens 1803–1806 Upon another war between Britain and France, Janssens attempted to strengthen the defenses of the colony, but found resources lacking, having few trained troops at his disposal and the political situation tenuous at best. During this time, he was promoted to Lieutenant-General. Janssens was under no impression that he had the ability to defeat the British force, led by Lieutenant-General Sir David Baird, yet he mobilized his forces and engaged the British on January 8, 1806, at the Battle of Blaauwberg, near Cape Town. His force was defeated and he was forced to surrender Cape Colony to the British, this time permanently.

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