Multiple international news outlets are reporting that the Netherlands intends to apologize for its role in the slave trade later this year or early next year.

This will be done through an apology fund of about US$204 million (approximately R3.5 billion). This money will finance projects aimed at educating the public about the effects of slavery.

The media cited unnamed sources in the government.

Slavery in South Africa

According to South African History Online, the Dutch first arrived in South Africa in 1642. Their model of colonization centered on slavery.

Slaves were transported from communities in the Western Cape to the African republics of the Orange Free State and the Republic of South Africa.

“Many South Africans are descendants of slaves brought to the Cape Colony between 1653 and 1822,” reports South African History Online.

The first slaves brought by the Dutch to South Africa arrived at the Cape on March 28, 1658 aboard the Amersfoort ship. They were captured by the Dutch from a Portuguese slave trader who was taking slaves to Brazil.

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Historians say that out of 250 slaves, only 170 survived the trip to the Cape, representing a death rate of 32%.

Most of these slaves come from Angola.

A month later, 228 slaves from Ghana arrived in Cape Town on the ship Hasselt.

To some extent, the slave trade in South Africa was so enterprising that by 1710 slaves outnumbered the adult population of the colonial masters at the Cape.

The Dutch bought slaves from what is now Mozambique, and in 1838 the number of slaves at the Cape was about 38,000.

The extent of the Netherlands’ involvement in slavery

According to the Department of African Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands, Dutch involvement in the Atlantic slave trade continued from the 17th to the 19th century.

The Dutch originally sent slaves to northern Brazil, and by the second half of the 17th century they had a controlling interest in trade with the Spanish colonies.

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Today’s Suriname and Guyana became famous markets in the 18th century.

Between 1612 and 1872, the Dutch operated from approximately 10 forts along the Gold Coast (now Ghana), from where slaves were shipped across the Atlantic. The slave trade declined between 1780 and 1815.

The role of the Dutch in the Atlantic slave trade is estimated at 5-7%, or about 550,000 to 600,000 Africans.

The last man

In 1863, the Netherlands was one of the last countries to abolish slavery. Although the decision was made in 1848, it took many years to implement the law.

In addition, the law required a 10-year transition period, and slaves in Suriname would not be completely free until 1873.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hans Seidel Foundation. Stories created through Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect the views of the Hans Seidel Foundation.

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