Following Ansla van Bengalen: revisiting the histories of enslaved women in the Cape

Ansla van Bengalen was captured off the coast of Bengal, and brought to the Dutch settlement at the Cape of Good Hope in 1657. She was among the first group of enslaved people in the Cape, and was one of the first enslaved people freed and granted land in the centre of Cape Town, then known as Table Valley. In her lifetime, van Bengalen served in Jan van Riebeeck’s household, became an entrepreneur, and saw several of her children marry into Dutch society. Van Bengalan was referenced in several historical accounts of the early Dutch settlement in Cape Town during the 17th century.