Republic of Swellendam

The Republic of Swellendam was founded in 1795 with the dissatisfaction towards the Dutch East India Company caused the burghers of Swellendam to revolt, and on 17 June 1795 they declared themselves a republic. Hermanus Steyn was appointed as President of the Republic of Swellendam.[1] The burghers of Swellendam started to call themselves "national burghers" – after the style of the French Revolution. However, the Republic was short-lived and was ended on 4 November 1795 when the Cape was occupied by the Kingdom of Great Britain.[2]

The Republic of Swellendam
Het Republiek Van Swellendam (Dutch)
17 June 1795–November 1795
Flag of Swellendam
Coat of arms of Swellendam
Coat of arms
Republic of Swellendam, as shown in red.
Republic of Swellendam, as shown in red.
and largest city
34°01′23″S 20°26′24″E / 34.02306°S 20.44000°E / -34.02306; 20.44000
(None officially)
• President
Hermanus Steyn
• National Commander
Petrus Delport
• Head of National Board
Jacobus Steyn
from the Netherlands
• Revolt against the Dutch
April 1795
17 June 1795
November 1795
• Total
27,258 km2 (10,524 sq mi)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Dutch Cape Colony
Cape Colony
Republic of Graaff-Reinet
Today part ofSouth Africa
(Western Cape and Eastern Cape)
President Hermanus Steyn
Declaration of the Republic of Swellendam in 1795


Map of the Dutch Cape Colony in 1795.
The flag of the Republic of Swellendam if it was mixed with its coat of arms.

The Republic of Swellendam came into existence when on 17 and 18 June 1795, around sixty Cape citizens under the leadership of Petrus Delport occupied the drostdy and forced the magistrate of Swellendam, Anthonie Faure and his officials to resign. Hermanus Steyn d'Jonge is elected as president.[3] The incident took place a few months after Marthinus Prinsloo established an acting government in the Colony of Graaff-Reinet on 4 February 1795.[4] The rebellion and self-government was motivated by unhappiness with tax payments to the company and the ban on the registration of Khoikhoi children on farms. Although a national magistrate was appointed and the national convention served as government, the government was recognized in the Free Republic of the Netherlands and there was no intention to establish a republic.[5]


See also



  1. ^ "Die Republiek Swellendam".
  2. ^ "SAHistory".
  3. ^ "Die Groot trek, Veeboere".
  4. ^ Rothmann, Anna (1983). Republic of Swellendam.
  5. ^ Giliomee, Hermann. Die Afrikaners, a Biography. p. 52.