Date of the first preserved entry in the journal of Adam Tas, an early Cape Dutch ‘free burger’

Saturday, 13 June 1705

The first preserved entry in the diary of Adam Tas is dated 13 June 1705. Tas was an early Dutch free burgher in the Cape region. Free burghers were farmers who were given land to farm independently of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) who controlled the Cape.

Tas' diary describes the developments that took place in the Cape region during this time, including the rise of the Cape gentry. The diary also details Tas' involvement in the free burgher conflicts with Cape Governor William Adriaan van der Stel, concerning corruption of VOC officials and their mishandling of monopolies in trade.

Tas was eventually arrested for his involvement in this conflict in February 1706, after he had drawn up a petition protesting against the conduct of VOC officials.

Although van der Stel attempted to quell the unrest by arresting the dissatisfied free burghers, the Lords Seventeen in Amsterdam (the governing body) eventually banned the owning of land by VOC officials.

References:
• Wallis, F. (2000) Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar. Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau.
•  SAHO "This Week in History: 28 February 1706- Adam Tas is arrested" [online] Available at: sahistory.org [Accessed 3 June 2009]

Last updated : 11-Jun-2013

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011