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In 1657 a group of four free burghers were granted land in an area south of Table Bay at the Cape of Good Hope. Jan van Riebeeck, the Dutch commander at the Cape, referred to the area as "Het Ronde Doornboschjen", after a curious clump of thorn trees on the banks of the Liesbeek River. By 1670 this had been contracted in the Dutch East India's (VOC) records to Rondeboschje.

Despite its early origins Rondebosch did not achieve recognition as a separate village, or as a suburb of Cape Town, until after the 1830s. The 1875 census indicated that Rondebosch had a population of 1 902. In 1891 this number had risen to 3 378, and by 1904 it stood at 6 035, of whom 4 312 were literate.

By Franco Frescura

Last updated : 27-Apr-2018

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