Resolutions of the Council of Policy
of Cape of Good Hope

This is your entry to 150 years of history of South Africa. The Council of Policy was the highest authority of the VOC in the Cape of Good Hope. The Council ruled the establishment between 1652 and 1795 and discussed all the important issues concerning the colony. The proceedings, which include reports and decisions taken, are called the Resolutions.

You can search the resolutions by date, by geographical name, by ship name, by the reference number of the document or by using free search on every word of interest to you.

A glossary in Afrikaans helps you to understand the archaic Dutch expressions.

The extensive introduction in Afrikaans and English describes the background of the Resolutions, offers a sketch of the Cape of Good Hope and explains how to use the search facilities to get the best results.

Another instrument to guide your research is an old map that shows you the places and the native communities of the region.

Map of the Cape of Good Hope by Isaac Tirion dated about 1730.
(© Nationaal Archief, The Hague, 4.BMF . no.471)

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Three additional maps provided by the Cape Town Archives Repository offer you a more detailed view:

Map of the Cape and Stellenbosch districts, c. 1688 – c. 1695
( © CTAR, Ref: M1/273)

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Table Mountain and Bay, showing the settlement, c. 1785.
(© CTAR, Ref: E2750)

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Plan of Cape Town, 1786
(© CTAR, Ref: M1/339)

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The Transcription Project

As the Resolutions are an important source for South African history, one has to obtain special permission from the Head of the Cape Town Archives Repository to consult them. By transcribing and digitising this backbone of the VOC archives in South Africa , the contents (about six and a half million words) are now available and easily accessible for every researcher all over the world.

The Resolutions of the period 1651-1743 were transcribed, annotated and published under supervision of Dr. Anna Böeseken and Dr. Con de Wet in the years 1957-1984. Recently these books were scanned and digitised in XML format. The remaining 110 volumes with Resolutions (1744-1795) were transcribed in the framework of TANAP by Dr. Andrew Alberts, Ms. Erika van As M.A., Dr. Helena Liebenberg, and Mrs. Illona Meyer M.A. The project was conducted under supervision of Miss Marian George, head of the Cape Town Archives Repository. The Foundation Huis der Nederlanden situated in Pinelands, South Africa and its director Mrs. Zirkëa Ellis facilitated the project administration. An article regarding the project can be found in its Nieuwsbrief. The Sentrum vir Besigheids- en Taal diens in Bellville , South Africa guided the digitisation. Its website offers an article of Die Burger with another outline of the TANAP project in Cape Town . Drs. Hanno de Vries of the Nationaal Archief in the Netherlands advised the project concerning the international archival standards.

The TANAP transcription team at work, 2001-2003

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The image of the first Resolution of the Council of Policy gives an impression of the tremendous effort of the transcribers to translate the millions of old Dutch characters in modern type letters.

The first Resolution dated Saturday 30 December 1651 (Ref. C.1)

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