Jan van Riebeeck Biography
(Dutch Colonial Administrator)
Birthday: April 21, 1619 (Taurus)
Born In: Culemborg
Jan van Riebeeck is considered to be the Founding Father of the South African Cape. Responsible for the establishment of Cape Town in South Africa, he began his career as a Dutch Colonial administrator for the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, which is now known as the Dutch-East India Company. Riebeeck was stationed at numerous trading posts across the world including Tonkin, Indochina, Japan, and Batavia; but was best known for creating an opening in South Africa for the white settlers. Although some groups believe him to have disrupted the natural habitat of the Cape, he was honored by the nation well into the 1990s. Riebeeck was a devout family man, having his wife and children accompany him on his travels, and an equally devout Christian. Following in his father’s footsteps, he began his career in the surgical field, but held many positions ranging from assistant surgeon to secretary to the Council of India over his lifetime; a passion he passed along to his eldest son. Although he may have died at the age of 58, he holds a significant place in the history and founding of South Africa. It was because of his contributions to history that he was honored for decades across the nation.