Olof (Oloff, Olaf) Bergh (*Gothenburg / Gütenborg / Goteborg / Och Bohus, Sweden, 16 Apr 1643 - †Cape Town, 1724), Sweden, V.O.C. official and leader of expeditions to the interior, came from a cadet branch of a noble Swedish family, but nothing is known of the line of his descent or of his youth in Sweden.
His diligence soon attracted the notice of the commander, Simon van der Stel, and, on February 6, 1679, he was sent on the first of his many missions, to bring back three deserters to the Castle from the Olifants river. In 1681 he was promoted to ensign and in the same year he succeeded in bartering 1,250 head of cattle from the Hottentots beyond the Hottentots Holland mountains. The following year he was sent to salvage the cargo of the English ship, Joanna, which had foundered near the present Gansbaai. For this work he was paid a hundred rix-dollars.
He married Anna de Koning (also written as de Coningh) the 10th of September 1678, the daughter of Angela van Bengalen (also known as Mooij/Maaij Ansela), at the Cape. Ten children were born of the marriage and Bergh became the first South African ancestor of one of the best known Afrikander (Afrikaner) families. One of his sons, Marthinus Bergh, became landdrost of Stellenbosch, while several other descendants, such as Olof Marthinus Bergh, Marthinus Adrianus Bergh, and Egbertus Bergh, filled important roles in the public life of the Cape.
b1 Christina Bergh (baptised 18 Jun 1679) = 18 Jun 1679, X Jacobus de Wet (forefather of the De Wet family in South Africa), XX 28 Jun 1711 Matthias Bergstedt 
b2 Maria Bergh (baptised 1 March 1682) = 1 March 1682, X 1 Jan 1702 Albert Koopman, XX 3 Jul 1707 Johannes Visser
Olaf Bergh was one of the wealthiest men at the Cape in his time. He enjoyed a close relationship with Commander and later Governor Simon van der Stel. Bergh was a considerable landowner and was a leading figure in the Cape community, serving as member of the Political Council. There are drawings of both of him and his wife Anna de Koningh still preserved His properties included the farm De Kuilen (today Kuilsriver), a house on the Heerengracht in Cape Town, another house behind it, a house near the Grote Kerk, a house in Table Valley, the farm Constantia and two bungalows in Piquetberg.
In 1684 Bergh owned four male slaves, a female slave and two slave children. Anthonie van Angola bought the slave Sijmen Ham van Madagascar for 85 Rds from Bergh. In 1700 Bergh sold the slave Arend van Bengale to his mother-in-law for 70 Rds. In 1702 the freeburgher Christoffel Armbrecht agreed to purchase a slave for Bergh in exchange for another slave belonging to Bergh whom he wanted to marry. Christoffel already had a child with her and was raising the child as his own. Olof Bergh died in 1724 in Cape Town, and his wife Anna de Koningh died there nine years later.
In 1657 Jan van Riebeeck learned of the 'Amaqua' or Namaqua, a rich Khoikhoi tribe living to the north of the Dutch settlement on the shore of Table Bay. Their country was said to be the source of all the copper used by the indigenous people. It was also believed that the Namaqua (now known simply as the Nama: '-qua' means 'people') could lead the Dutch to the 'Chobona', who was believed to be the leader of all the Khoikhoi and 'rich in gold'. Consequently, several expeditions were sent northward along the western part of the country. The most important of these were those of Pieter van Meerhoff in 1661, Oloff Bergh in 1682-3 and Simon van der Stel in 1685-6. Van der Stel's expedition travelled the farthest north, to the Copper Mountains in the vicinity of present-day Springbok.
Reports of these expeditions were sent to the Here Sewentien (Seventeen Lords or Gentlemen), the Directors of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) in Amsterdam. Van der Stel's report was accompanied by coloured drawings of some of the flora and fauna encountered on the way, as well as illustrations of the Copper Mountains and a Namaqua man and woman. This report and most of the illustrations are now in Ireland, in the library of Trinity College, Dublin. The letters indicate various places described on the reverse of the drawings which are believed to be the work of Heinrich Claudius [although Heinrich Oldenland Philip van der Walt Sept 7, 2014, also a botanist and artist who was also part of the first expidition, might be a contender], an apothecary or pharmacist and artist. He is known to have been on Bergh's expedition but there is no clear evidence that he also accompanied Van der Stel. The drawings are annotated with information regarding the dietary use and the medicinal or pharmacological properties of many of the plants and some of the animals, a number of which were observed in areas not reached by Bergh's expedition. Information of this sort would have been of interest and use to someone like an apothecary, whose training would have included education in the properties and uses of plants. These factors suggest that Claudius was the artist.
Olaf Bergh contributed a great deal to the exploration and opening-up of the barren, inhospitable north-west. In 1682, on instructions from Van der Stel, he went to look for the source of the copper ore that the Namaquas had brought to the Castle. Accompanied by a crew of thirty men he left for the north on 30 October.
The party travelled north past Groenkloof until they reached the Berg river. They swung east from there, and then north until they reached the Olifants river on 10 November. North of this river they had great difficulty in finding sufficient water and grazing for their animals. The situation became more and more desperate, and, on 15 November, Bergh decided to spend a few days at Meerhoffs Kasteel, west of the present Nuwerus, from where he could send messages to the Namaquas to come and exchange cattle. As the Hottentots had not arrived after a week, the party trekked further north until they came to the Groen river, where there was more water and better pasturage, Bergh was fortunate enough to barter a few cattle there. Because of the drought the party was forced to start the return journey on 28 November. They followed almost the same route on their way back and reached the Castle on 19 December.
On August 27, 1683 Bergh once again led an expedition of forty-one whites and ten Hottentots in search of the Copper mountains in the north-west. This time their route lay past Klipheuwel and Riebeek-Kasteel to the Berg river. From the Piketberg they followed the same route the previous party had taken to Klein Tafelberg, where once again they suffered from a scarcity of water and pasturage. Once they had crossed the Olifants river, the situation worsened steadily. Nevertheless Bergh pressed on past Baviaansberg and Meerhoffs Kasteel. As on the previous journey, Bergh's expedition faltered before a dry and inhospitable region with impassable mountains, and when, on 1st October, the party began its return journey, it had progressed only one day's journey beyond the point reached by Bergh's expedition the previous year. The party returned to the Castle on 24 October. Although Bergh had not succeeded in discovering the Copper mountains, his attempts prompted Van der Stel to lead an expedition of his own to the north-west in 1685. Van der Stel still had a high opinion of Bergh's ability and zeal; he was made a member of the council of policy in 1685 and promoted to lieutenant the following year.
1 October 1699: Olof Bergh sent to Riviersonderend in the Overberg ... "Meeting of Council: Resolution. Cattle very scarce. Not nearly enough to supply ships. Others wanted for the Fort [Castle] itself. Season favourable. Captain O. Bergh with 41 soldiers despatched to Sousequa & Gouri 'Hottentots' [Khoekhoe] to barter some as usual, he having often been on these expeditions & acted faithfully & to satisfaction of his superiors. He is also to proceed to other nations in alliance with the Company to get cattle so very much wanted by Company, sending back with some of the men such animals as he succeeds in obtaining. Thence he is to proceed to Hequon nation with whom a good barter was made in 1689." [Journal] [Mansell Upham] 
The salvage of the Johanna
In 1682 Olaf was send out to salvage the Johanna, the first English East Indiaman to be wrecked on the South African coastline, which he did successfully, but with small personal reward. She weighed 550 tons, and was commanded by Captain Robert Brown. She was on an outward bound voyage from the Downs, off south-east Kent, which she had left on the 27th February 1682 in the company of 4 other ships named the Williamson, Nathaniel, Welvaert and Samson, all bound for Bengal except the Johanna destined for Surat. The Johanna went down about 40 miles to the east of the Cape, near Gansbaai, at about 4 o'clock in the morning of the 8th June, in good but dark cloudy weather. The Johanna's principal cargo consisted of silver specie to the value of 72,000 pounds (70 chests of pieces-of-eight and silver bullion of the English factories in Bengal). Ten people drowned and 104 people reached Cape Town. Rumors of treasure on board the ship caused Commander van der Stel to send a salvage party, headed by VOC official Ensign Olaf Bergh, to see what they could find. At the site, Bergh found four bodies washed up on shore, which they buried. Besides bottles of Brandy, casks of wine and beer, Bergh found 613 Spanish Reels, which had all washed up on shore. This stimulated Bergh's desire to get out to the wreck and he sent for a carpenter and a slave named Pay Mina, who was a trained pearl diver. Bergh returned to the Castle after successfully salvaging coins to the value of 28, 302 gulden.
The salvage of the Nossa Senhora de los Milagros
Four years later in 1686 Bergh was accused of plundering the wreck of the Nossa Senhora de los Milagros (the name meaning Our Lady Virgin of the Miracles), a case surrounded by a great deal of controversy and mystery. The Nossa Senhora de los Milagros (Milagros) was a Portuguese vessel of 30 guns and 150 men, commanded by Don Emmanual Da Silva, a close friend of the Portuguese King. The ship was on her way from Goa (India) to Portugal, bearing "Presents for Kings" from King Phra Narai of Siam when it was wrecked at Cape Agulhas. Apart from a large crew, she carried three Jesuit Priests and three Siamese Ambassadors as passengers.
Realizing that there was very little hope of salvaging the wreck the Portuguese officers ceded their rights to the ship to the Company. Simon van der Stel immediately sent a salvage team of seven consisting of Lieutenant Olaf Bergh, the Fiscal Johannes van Keulen, and some men among whom were Arent and Willem Hendricks Bergh boarded the wreck and was followed by four other members of the party. On board they were surprised to find a young slave named Anthony of Mocambique guarding the possessions of his master, Father Joseph de la Graria. Because of rough seas Olaf Bergh remained on the wreck for twelve days and in the light of later events, what happened during that period can only be guessed at.
When the party returned to the Castle, they handed in several pieces of material most of which were so soiled that they were distributed by the Governor among the members of the Council. But they - including Bergh - decided to look after their own interests, and sold the plundered booty in Cape Town, after which they went on to gamble and carouse on the proceeds. Van der Stel had the whole group arrested. Accusations and rumors were rife and many in high positions at the Cape found themselves under suspicion. On February 23rd, 1687, the respected clergyman, Johannes Overney, found himself in the unenviable position of having to protest his innocence from the pulpit of his church. To add weight to the rumors, it was discovered that a valuable gold cross with eight diamonds, a silver filigree scent ball and a rosary had been sold to one of the residents by one of the salvagers, Arent Hendricks and in the garden of Olaf Bergh company officials unearthed a cache of ship's loot. Although Bergh later admitted his part in the theft, he very incautiously implicated Van der Stel in the matter by stating that he had verbally reported to the Governor who had advised him to keep quiet about the affair. Bergh acknowledged possession of some of the stolen articles though, was sentenced, and imprisoned on Robben Island and later at the Castle. The Chamber of Seventeen eventually gave him the choice of going to Ceylon with his previous rank or remaining at the Cape as a Free Burgher. Bergh opted for Ceylon, but his wife chose to remain at the Cape. It was not long after the return of the salvage party that ugly rumors started circulating among the inhabitants of Cape Town.
The culprit was detained on Robben Island for a period of three and a half years after which he was given the option of remaining in the Cape as a free burgher, or retaining his rank in the state of semi-exile in Ceylon. This option was in consideration of the many years of excellent service he had rendered the Company. He chose to go to (it seems that Anna - his wife - remained at the Cape). He left for the Ceylon with one of his sons. Nothing is known of his stay in Ceylon, but his work appears to have been satisfactory, for he was promoted to a captaincy. In 1695 he returned to the Cape bearing testimonials indicating his good work and behaviour in Ceylon.  He got pardoned for his crimes, and was appointed as commander of the Cape garrison. His past indiscretion was not held against him because he was appointed to many important commissions before being retired on half-pay in 1715 (in 1699 he went on his last expedition when he was sent to barter for cattle with Hottentots in the Riviersonderend area; in 1710 he sat on a commission to investigate methods of securing Table bay against enemy invasion) After retirement from the service of the Company (owning land on the Moolenweg, a farm in the Tijgerberg area, the farm De Kuijlen - Kuils River - and the adjoining farm Saxenburg he had bought in 1701; with Johannes Phijffer he also owned the farm Vondeling near Paarl Diamant)), he bought the historical farm Constantia, from the estate of Simon van der Stel and it was here that he died in his eightieth year in 1724."1724
Olof Bergh van Götenburg (Swede) het in 1665 by die Kompanjie in diens getree, en het in 1679 as sersant na die Kaap gekom. Hy trou in die Kaap de Goede Hoop, Kaap Kolonie met Anna de Koningh en 1690 vertrek hy na Ceylon.
In 1695 keer hy na die Kaap terug en word kaptein van die garnisoen. Hy het in 1716 met behoud van sy rang afgetree. Bergh was 'n welgestelde man, en afgesien van die plaas Constantia, wat hy van Simon van der Stel gekoop het, het hy ook nog drie plase in die Piketberge en vyf huise in die Kaap besit. Hy is in 1724 oorlede en sy vrou in 1737.
Contributing Merged Profiles
WikiTree import of Bergh_2010-09-14.ged on 15 September 2010 and May 16, 2014 by Anton Bergh. Source: #S2S2 Title: Bergh family.FTW Source: #S3S3 Title: Bergh.FTW Source: #S6S6 Title: Christina Bergh 885655.FTW Source: #S7S7 Author: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints : Title: International Genealogical Index (R) : Publication: Name: Copyright (c) 1980, 2002, data as of February 11, 2003; Repository: #R1 : Repository Name: Family History Library ADDR 35 N West Temple Street SaltLake City, Utah 84150 USA
WikiTree profile Bergh-609 created through the import of My Family.Pretorius.Van_Wyk.DeWaal.Potgieter.2011.ged on Sep 19, 2011 by Judy Potgieter.
WikiTree profile Bergh-732 through the import of Pretorius Family Tree 1.ged on Aug 10, 2013 by Willem Pretorius. Source: S67 Author: Reg Neville Title: reg Web Site Text: MyHeritage.com family tree Page: Olof Bergh Event
WikiTree profile Bergh-709 through the import of Vermaak Family Site - 05 May 2013.GED on May 5, 2013 by Dina Vermaak. Source: S103 Author: Richard Faure-field Title: faure-field Web Site Text: MyHeritage.com Page: Olof Bergh Event Objects not included in GEDCOM: Type: jpg : OLAF BERGH : C:\...\MyHeritage\Vermaak Family Site\Photos\P1939_57_80.jpg (Photo was added as Smart Match from family tree 'Hürlimann Web Site \ Hürlimann Family Tree' by: Jean Paul Hürlimann) ; Type: jpg : OLAF BERGH : C:\...\My Documents\MyHeritage\Vermaak Family Site\Photos\P1940_46_61.jpg
WikiTree profile Bergh-602 created through the import of Haye-1_2011-08-17.ged on Aug 17, 2011 by Jesse Haye. Source: S00376 Title: Lds batch
WikiTree profile Bergh-637 created through the import of Ancestors_DippenaarAndre_noinfo.GED on Oct 23, 2012 by Andrew Dippenaar.
WikiTree profile Bergh-586 created through the import of y7kcmx_52059237jm26ecf23dqq44.ged on Aug 6, 2011 by Raymond Bergh.
Bergh, Oloff. 1683. Journael van de landtocht bij d'E. Vaenrich Oloff Bergh, Sargianten Christoffel Henningh [...] gehouden bij de stuyrluyden Reynier Damie en Rosierich Hermansz in den jare 1682. Manuscript. Den Haag: Hollandsche Reichsarchiv. Bergh seems to be the first one ever to use the word "bosjesmans" (Barnard 1992:9).
Bergh, Oloff. 1683/1931. Journael van de landtocht bij d'E. Vaenrich Oloff Bergh, Sargianten Christoffel Henningh [...] gehouden bij de stuyrluyden Reynier Damie en Rosierich Hermansz in den jare 1682 [with translation by E. E. Mossop]. In: The journals of the expeditions of the honorable ensign Olof Bergh (1682 and 1983) and the ensign Isaq Schrijver (1689), pp 1-191. Ed(s): E. E. Mossop. Publications from the Van Riebeeck Society, no 12. Cape Town: Van Riebeek Society.
MOSSOP, E.E., Journals of the expeditions of Olof Bergh 1682-1683
Mossop, E. E. Ed(s). 1931. The journals of the expeditions of the honorable ensign Olof Bergh (1682 and 1983) and the ensign Isaq Schrijver (1689). Translated by E. E. Mossop. Publications from the Van Riebeeck Society, no 12. Cape Town: Van Riebeek Society. Pp 260. Early descriptions of the Cape area.
Schrijver, Isaq. 1689/1931. [...]. In: The journals of the expeditions of the honorable ensign Olof Bergh (1682 and 1983) and the ensign Isaq Schrijver (1689), pp 193-259. Ed(s): E. E. Mossop. Publications from the Van Riebeeck Society, no 12. Cape Town: Van Riebeek Society
↑ The task to get more clarity on his Swedish roots has been challenging. Anton Bergh shared a link from Sweden Genealogy Research on September 11, 2012:
Can anyone advise how to look for the Swedish roots of Olof Martini Bergh, Born about April 16, 1643 in Gothenburg (Göteborg in Swedish), possibly the area was then known as Göteborg och Bohus, Sweden; Son of [father?] and [mother?], [brothers or sisters?]; Husband of Anna de Koningh — married September 10, 1678 in Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. His details and descendants are here: Olaf Bergh. Geoffrey Fröberg Morris replied on October 12, 2012: Olof’s birth in 1643 predates the earliest birth and christening recods in the city of Göteborg. To do research this far back in time, you will need to use sources like court records (domböcker and tänkeböcker), tax records, and maybe other city records depending on the family’s situation. You can check the Family History Library Catalog through FamilySearch.org to see what they have on microfilm. Also, you could contact the Regional archive (Landsarkiv) in Göteborg at: firstname.lastname@example.org or the city archive Göteborg Stadsarkiv at: email@example.com to ask for their advice. Maybe they know of biographical sources from others research on the same family?
↑ Another intriguing question waiting to be answered is whether Is Ulrich Bergh Ulrich Bergh is his brother: BERGH (Ulrich), b.. in Gothenburg, about 1655, deceased in Java before Feb. 1. 1695. He joined the OIC in 1680 as an ensign and was a fellow expedition to Sumatra's west coast, where the company between 1667 to 1681 successively to Baros, Priaman, and Aërbangis Singkel (1681) has established. In 1682 he led the reserve forces at the Tangerang, where the commander to the highly successful William Hartsinck stubbornly defended the fortress against the the conquers. He was then lieutenant at Newport in Batavia (85) In 87 he was appointed deputy commander of the important Tangerang's expedition against Adolf Winkler opened Balinese straw. He was married to Catharina Elisabeth Cuffelaer from Amsterdam, daughter of Magdalena Arenim, residing in London. Later he married Isabella Maxwell of Dordrecht, widow of the ensign Gravendijk Govert, with whom she had four children.
↑ We have no marriage record (yet), but the marriage is said to have taken place in the Castle itself.
↑ The son Petrus, due to his 'behaviour' (his parents objected to his intended marriage) was sent as a soldier to the East.
↑ Ad Biewenga, De Kaap de Goede Hoop -- Een Nederlandse vestigingskolonie 1680 -1730, p. 225: Makes the following reference to Olof Bergh and Anna de Koning: "Inderdaad zien we ouders zich met het huwelijk van hun kind bemoeien. In 1723 kantten Olof Bergh en zijn vrouw Anna de Koning zich tegen het voorgenomen huwelijk van hun zoon Simon Petrus. Omdat hij er niet van af te brengen was, verzochten zij de Politieke Raad of hij naar Indië verzonden mocht worden. Nadat de Raad inlichtingen had ingewonnen, werd Bergh junior als matroos aangesteld en verzonden". Resolusies VI.356 & 371.
↑ Transcribed baptismal record for presumably Nov 15, 1699 (no date is given for the following entry. The two entries following it are of the same date as the one above, suggesting that this one has the same date - 15 Nov 1699.): "van Jacobus de We[t] en Christina Berg getuyge Albert Coopman en Agneta vander Graght gent: - Olof". Source: eGGSA Cape Town Baptisms 1699, p. 14. This transcription has been made from photographs of the Cape Archives Verbatim copies document VC 604 - Cape Town baptisms, memberships and marriages 1695-1712, which is a photocopy of the original register, now housed in the Nederduits Gereformeerde Kerkargief, Noordwal-Wes, Stellenbosch, as G1-8/1. This photocopy was made for the Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and a copy was donated to the South African Archives, a copy going to the Cape Town Repository (VC series) and to the Pretoria Repository (where it is part of the FC series). Seen and entered by Philip van der Walt Sept 13, 2014.
↑ This date of birth seems to be chronologically out of place here, perhaps belonging one of the sons born of the next generation. Philip van der Walt Sept 13, 2014.
↑ The only known portrait [of him] is in Mossop, E.E. Journals of the expeditions of the Honourable Ensigns Olof Bergh (1682 and 1683) and Isaq Schrijver (1689). Van Riebeeck Society, Cape Town, 1931
↑ How much of this wealth was from loot from the shipwrecks is anyone's guess. I cannot imagine how an official could earn enough to buy all these holdings with his salary alone.
↑The Codex Witsenii - a rare document in the South African museum. by M.L. Wilson, South African Museum. Photographs by W.J. van Rijssen, South African Museum. Sagittarius Volume 4, Number 3
↑ On the way to Boschenbach Nature Resrve where one can admire bushman rock paintings depicting lions, gems buck, eland, ostrich, crocodile etc., one can also visit the Heerenlogement and the Oloff Bergh Stone on the farm Klipfontein (027 422 1723). In 1682 an official of the Dutch East India Company, Oloff Bergh and his men sent by commander Simon van der Stel to investigate the possibility of mining copper in Namaqualand, spent the night in this cave. At Boschenbach Nature Reserve: The peaceful Sandveld towns of Graafwater and Leipoldtville lie between the Cederberg mountains and the coast surrounded by potato and rooibos tea farms. In springtime the Sandveld comes alive with wild flowers. North of Graafwater (16 km from the retreat) that was built in 1910 as a railway junction between Cape Town and Bitterfontein, lies the historical Heerenlogement cave (see: The Writing on the Wall) and Bergfontein. This was a popular resting place for cattle traders, hunters, soldiers and others travellers heading north between 1665 and 1682. Oloff Bergh discovered this cave on his first expedition to find copper; he was the first white person who called at the famous cave and fountain in November 1682. Simon van der Stel carved his name in the Heerenlogement cave on his journey to Namaqualand in 1685 and again on the 29th October 1712.
↑The journals of the expeditions of the honorable ensign Olof Bergh (1682 and 1983) and the ensign Isaq Schrijver (1689). Transcribed and translated into English and edited with a foreword and footnotes by Dr E.E. Mossop. Publications from the Van Riebeeck Society, 12. Cape Town. Pp 270, plates, maps. Notes: Early descriptions of the Cape area and its inhabitants. The Swede, Olaf Bergh, was one of the earliest travellers to undertake the journey up to Namaqualand. The purpose of his journeys was to negotiate with the 'Sousequase and Gourisse Hottentots' , to trade and to familiarise himself with the region up the Cape west coast. Isaq Schrijver of Leiden was also sent north by Governor Simon van der Stel to barter for cattle and to look for minerals. Bergh has a parallel Afrikaans-English text while Schrijver is in English only.
↑Isaq Schrijver was involved in salvage operations of the Nossa Senhora dos Milagros to try and retrieve some of the treasure.
↑ Source: "The Johanna (Joanna) 1682" Cape Argus, Government Gazette 
↑ "[...] gifts from King Phra Narai of Siam to Pedro, King of Portugal, Louis XIV of France and Charles XI of England [...]"
↑ Two of the Siamese ambassadors were among the survivors (the other ambassador having died soon after reaching the shore) as well as some crew members. All survivors were brought to the settlement at the Castle (Cape Town) where they were cared for.
↑ This promotion had to have been the result of networking or ass-kissing in its highest form. Stashed royal loot could also have played a role here I imagine. In any case all the facts surrounding Olof and Anna leave plenty to speculate about. For instance, I wonder if Olof fathered Carolus Erlandt Bergh born 10 Jul 1689 and Johanna Magdalena Bergh born 26 Aug 1691"
↑ See the article written by Leonard D. Lourens. in the Cape Times weekly magazine of January 11th 1969.