Journal on Namaqualand
1685 In 1602 the Dutch East India Company was formed. It established (and defended) a monopoly in trade, particularly in spices - cinnamon, cloves, pepper and nutmeg. The Company was extremely successful, extending its network from Africa, Arabia, and the Persian Gulf to China and Japan. The Dutch settled the Cape of Good Hope, conveniently positioned on the trade route from Holland. Simon van der Stel was the Governor of the Cape from 1679 to 1699, and in 1685 he commanded an expedition to Namaqualand where it was hoped copper would be found. His official report, accompanied by 72 coloured illustrations, was subsequently sent to the East India Company headquarters. Under circumstances which remain unclear a section of the report was removed from the Company's archives in the early 1690s.
The Library of Trinity College Dublin acquired this 'Dagh Register', or journal, in 1802 as part of the library of Baron Hendrik Fagel. Its significance was not fully appreciated until 1932 when Gilbert Waterhouse, professor of German at Trinity College, published his edition of the journal.
The 72 drawings accompanying van der Stel's report are thought to have been executed by Hendrik Claudius, a Silesian apothecary employed by the Company to document natural history. The first image in the journal is a general view of the Copper Mountains, with van der Stel's camp in the centre. There is also one illustration of two Namaqua individuals. The remaining drawings depict animals, birds, reptiles, plants, insects and fish.
Shelfmark: TCD MS 984
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