On November 14, 1639, the first Mauritian was born, registered as such.

Son of the second Dutch governor of "Mauritius", Adriaan van der Stel, Simon was born on the ship which took his mother Marie Lievens to join her husband. She came from Batavia (Jakarta - Indonesia nowadays) which was also a Dutch colony.

For the record, Marie's mother was a freed Indian slave from Goa.

The first Mauritian was therefore a mestizo.

Nine years later, Simon and his parents left Fort Frederick Hendrick at Grand Harbor (now a museum) to return to Holland via Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). His father was captured by the rebels and his head paraded on a pike in front of his family.

Simon van der Stel eventually returned to Holland and married the daughter of one of the directors of the East India Company.

Several years later, he was appointed First Governor of the Cape Province in South Africa, which owes him, among other things, the establishment of the wine region of Stellenbosch (the woods of Stel) His private property, the oldest in the South Africa, "Groot Constantia" was taken over by the government and continues to produce excellent wines today.

Interestingly, a hunting picture showing Simon van der Stel with his somewhat Asian features, was concealed at the start of apartheid and replaced by a lithograph giving him very European features...for obvious reasons. The painting has since resurfaced.