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stepping stones of maritime history


De Mauritius Eiland was built in Amsterdam recorded in the equipage list for 350 last (14-9-1643).¹

The Mauritius Eiland arrived at the Cape on the morning of 7th February 1644 in fine weather. However, when she was attempting to sail around the southern end of Robben Island in the dark, she ran aground at Mouille Point. The vessel was largely undamaged, and she was eventually dragged off the rocks to be repaired. At this point the vessel was caught by worsening weather and started to take on water, so the crew ran the vessel aground at the mouth of the Salt River.

A fort of casks, armed with a gun, was constructed near the wreck site. The purpose of the fort was to accommodate the approximately 340 men who made it ashore. The total crew size and number of casualties is not known.
The fort was eventually reduced in size to be defensible by only 100 men with 12 heavy cannons. Part of the crew, presumably 100 men, was left behind at the Cape for about 4 months before being rescued by the Tijger, which was dispatched from Batavia. This proved to the Dutch East India Company that survival at the Cape was possible.

Another account has it that the wreck could also have taken place on a reef near the foot of Lions Head on the 7th of February.

MasterPieter Theunissen


The crew managed to salvage the cannon, cargo and all the specie onboard.


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