S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

De Bucquoy, Mr Jacob (surveying, cartography)

Born: 25 October 1693, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Died: 15 August 1772, Haarlem, The Netherlands.

Jacob de Bucquoy (also du Bucquoy) came from a family involved in trade with the East. After travelling widely in Europe he joined the Dutch East India Company in 1719 and arrived at the Cape in March 1720 aboard the East Indiaman Amazone. In December that year he was appointed as surveyor and mapmaker to an expedition led by Willem van Taak to establish a trading settlement at Delagoa Bay (now Baia de Maputo, Mozambique). The expedition left the Cape in February 1721. The settlement they established was beset by problems from the start. Within six weeks of their arrival more than two thirds of the party had died from malaria. De Bucquoy, soon promoted to engineer, completed the erection of a defensive fort, took part in minor explorations of the region and surveyed the bay. He compiled a Map of de Lagoa River and Algoa [Delagoa] Bay (1721), a hydrographical map of the bay (1721), and a plan of the Dutch East India Company's post there (1721), copies of which are in the Cape Town Archives Repository.

The settlement was not a commercial success and was eventually abandoned in 1730. However, long before then, in April 1722, it was attacked by pirates. De Bucquoy was taken aboard as pilot and with some others carried off to Madagascar. After enduring considerable hardships they managed to build a small boat and used it to escape to Mozambique. De Bucquoy made his way to Jakarta, Indonesia, in 1725 and resumed service with the Dutch East India Company. After several years in Thailand he returned to the Netherlands in 1735, visiting the Cape on his way. He settled at Haarlem, where he taught geography and navigation. In 1744 he wrote a lively account of his adventures, Aanmerkelijke ontmoetingen in de zestien jaarige reize naa de Indien..., which includes an account of the settlement at Delagoa Bay. A second edition appeared in 1757, and a German translation in 1771. He also produced a textbook for mariners and traders, De waterwereld, beschouwd en de byzonderheden langs kusten aangeweezen, ten nutte der koopvaardye en zeevaart... (1752), which included a description and illustration of False Bay.

List of sources:

Dictionary of South African biography, Vol. 4, 1981.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to Du Bucqoy, J.

Nieuw Nederlandsch biografisch woordenboek. Leiden: Sijthoff, 1911-1937.

South African bibliography to the year 1925. London: Mansell, 1979.

Theal, G.M. History of South Africa under the administration of the Dutch East India Company, 1652-1795, Vol. 1, pp. 445-448. London: Swan Sonnenschein, 1897.

Van der Aa, A.J. Biographisch woordenboek der Nederlanded. Haarlem: J.J. van Brederode, 1852-1878; reprinted Amsterdam, 1969.

Compiled by: C. Plug