Home > Dated Event > Graaff-Reinet
Wednesday, 19 July 1786

Graaff-Reinet was founded under the authority of the Dutch East Indian Company (DEIC) and was named for the Governor Cornelis Jacob van de Graeff and his wife Cornelia Reynet. Its early history can be traced back to the 1770s, when autonomous farms were set up in the Graaff-Reinet area by Boers trekking from the Cape Colony into the Eastern interior . Frequent skirmishes over land and access to water occurred between the Xhosa and the Boers. To investigate the matter, the Cape government appointed an administrator and determined the borders of the region by 1786.

Farmers of Graaff-Reinet refused to comply with the laws of the Cape government and by 1795 had declared themselves a republic.  In 1799, a revolt broke out which resulted in 20 men being imprisoned in the Castle of Good Hope. Another revolt broke out in 1801, but peace was restored in the region until 100 years later when Graaff-Reinet became the centre of British military activity at the outbreak of the Second Anglo-Boer War.

In 1901, 8 Boer rebels accused of treason, murder, robbery and arson were tried, sentenced and executed in Graaff-Reinet.


• Wallis, F. (2000)Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau.
•  Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape. [online], Available at: [Accessed on 9 July 2009]
•  Graaff-Reinet, Karoo,Eastern Cape, South Africa [online], Available at: [Accessed: 9 July 2009]

Last updated : 12-Jul-2019

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

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