The " Generale Verenigde Geoktrooijeerde Nedelandse Oos - Indiese Compagnie " later called the " V O C " ( Verenigde Oos-Indiese Compagnie ) was formed in Amsterdam in 1602. It was managed by 17 directors known as Here XVII. Their achieved aim was the gain of political, cultural and economic influence in the Indian Ocean Areas from the Cape to Japan. They were very successful and gathered enormous riches.
During 1651, the VOC decided to start an outpost at the Kaap de Goeie Hoop resulting in Jan van Riebeeck arriving at Table Bay on 6 April 1652, with his three sail ships - Dromedaris, de Rijger and de Goede Hoop . The outpost was successful and they became aware of the mineral riches of AFRICA and subsequently decided to extend their domain.
On 25 July 1719, a decision was made in Amsterdam to take occupation of Delagoa Bay. Two ships the Gouda and Zeelandia were sent of and arrived at the now Maputo bay on 21 March 1721, loaded with whatever they thought that may be required for establishing a base at Monomotapa for the treasure trade, of gold and ivory.
A suitable site was selected and the building of a earth and wood fort commenced. Fort de Lagoa later renamed to Fort Lijdzaamheid was completed within a few months, in the meantime treaties were agreed upon and signed with the local native leaders.
With the fort completed, the gardens flourishing, the plans for an inland expedition started taking shape.
The first group to move inland was under the leadership of Sergeant J.C. Steffler and 19 other soldiers. They moved to the Lebombo Mountains bordering Swaziland. While crossing, the group was attacked by a Swazi Impi and in the skirmish Steffler and another NCO were killed. The survivors withdrew to Fort de Lagoa.
The de Cuiper Expedition - Part 1
Jan van de Capelle was appointed Comander of the Fort de Lagoa base in 1725, being ambitious and very patriotic he made plans for an expedition into the interior which was put to the Here XVII, to investigate the mineral riches of Monomotapa.
The proposal was accepted and preparations commenced, 31 men were selected, the expedition under comand of Frans de Cuiper, set off on 27 June 1725. The supplies packed onto oxen. Eight natives who would act as interpreters also joined the group.
They moved in a northwesterly direction along the Matola River, through the sandy hot East African soil. after about four days, they reached the Inkomati River at Moamba. The expedition reached the now Rezano Garcia on 4 July 1725 where camp was pitched.
A small group was sent out on 5 July 1725 - the first Europeans to enter the Transvaal, to make contact with of the local native chiefs .
The expedition struck camp and set off on 6 July 1725, the Inkomati was crossed the same day. They soon realised that they were not welcome. They tried to get a local guide, but were not successful as Chief Coupanne had given strict instructions that no assistance may be rendered.
On 9 July the expedition arrived at a big kraal consisting of about 100 huts. After long negotiations with Chief Sweni, the latter appointed a guide to accompany the expedition. A second was recruited from the kraal of Alari Motsari ( chief Coupanne's father ) on the Moetji River, a branch of the Monganje ( now Crocodile ) River south of Komati Poort.
The expedition crossed the Monganje River on 10 July 1725 about 3 km east of the now Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK - the first Europeans to put foot to the now KRUGER NATIONAL PARK. Here on the northern banks the expedition met Chief Pande.
Very soon an Impi of about five hundred warriors, shouting war cries and drumming on their shields, surrounded the little group, claiming that the guides be relieved of their duties. De Cuiper realised that trouble was brooding and agreed that the guides could return, the Impi then dispersed.
The expedition then set off, soon a native approached them, offering to guide them to the kraal of Chief Dawano on the banks of the Vurhami River.
They camped and rested on 11 July, here one of their oxen died of a mysterious disease. They questioned the locals about the route to Ciremandelle ( Phalaborwa ) and Thowelle ( Zimbabwe ), everyone questioned, had a different story and it was then realised that they either did not know or were deliberately trying to mislead them.
That evening an old man came to the encampment and informed de Cuiper that he knew the two routes and explained that a day's trek would bring them to the Sabe ( River of Fear ) River, a further day would bring them to the kraal of Massawane, a further day to Matonie and a further two days to Ciramandelle where there was no gold but plenty of copper to exchange. There was plenty of gold, copper and ivory for exchange at Simangale in the Thowelle Area.
He explained that Thowele was about eight days of hard trekking from the kraal of Dawano and that many traders came up the Great Zambezi River, to barter the riches in the land of Tsouke.
Of the Rivers mentioned were the Sabe, Matintonde ( Nwasintsontso - river that flows into the sand ), Matiwati ( Timbavati - Bitter water ), Moutomme ( Ntomene - Jackalberry), Imbaloele ( Balule - faraway river, now the Olifants ) .
Frans de Kuiper now realised that they were not sufficiently equiped for an expedition to either Ciremandelle or Thowelle.
Suddenly on 12 July the group was surrounded by an aggressive mass of shouting, horn blowing natives, from Chief Dawano, comand was given to form a battle formation and defend themselves. The Impi attacked with their assegais, during the initial onslaught, two of de Cuiper's men were wounded, while six of the Impi were killed and ten wounded. All their cattle had been killed. The expedition realised that they had better retreat, they were followed up to sunset while many more of the Impi were shot and killed. De Cuiper ordered that they were to retreat untill they had crossed the Lebombo Mountains. A commemorative plaque has been erected at Gomondwane on the site of this battle, and is still to be viewed.
The Following morning 13 July the troops were again confronted by an Impi threatening to kill them ,for moving through their land. In the ensueing battle a few more members of the Impi were wounded and killed. Eventually the troops reached and crossed the Inkomati River ( estimated at the now Incomati station in Mozambique ), while being followed by a threatening Impi.
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
Convenor of the AIKONA Group.
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
Done 142 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.
Last edited by gmlsmit on Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.