Founder of this institution Griqua Royal House a non profit company under the South African law.

Our History

The Griqua's played an important part in various areas of South Africa within the Cape Colony and beyond its northern frontier during the second half of the seventhteen, eighteen century till today.Testimony to the Griqua presence is the fact that extensive district were for a considerable period in colonial and post - colonial history known as Piquetberg, Griqualand -West, Namakwaland, Free-State and Griqualand East.

To emerge in the written history and verbal tradition from Adam Kok I who lived from approximately 1710 to 1795. He was a distinguished leader and reign by the Kok son's like Cornelius Kok I, Cornelius Kok II, Adam Kok II, Barend Barendse and Adam Kok III

He was kept in the castle (refer to : Kok Dynasty) hence the surname kok,probability a cook who deserted from the Dutch. This period is characterised by forays into the interior by bastard(called coloureds) and other non-white inhabitants during a period when their rights to land and livestock were being eroded in the Cape Colony.They were also conscripted to serve in the commandos established by the Government.(the Cape Corps in 1795.) During the seventhteen century Adam Kok I and his followers were to become the dominant inhabitants of the Orange river frontier zone.

After his emancipation,Adam Kok I moved to the area immediate north of Piquetberg, around 1751 where he acquired grazing rights to a farm, Stinkfontein.He was accompany by a number of Khoi khoi and Sanqua descendants (Hottentots) namely Goringhaiqua, Namaqua and Bastard.He had married also the Xarixuriqua Chief daughter. He also initiated a longstanding relationship between himself,his successors and the Administrators of the Cape Colony and in the process attracted either official support and sanctions.The Cape authorities was force to recognize him as the Khoi leader and presented a staff of office as symbol of his authority.From this time he assume the title Kapityn.

A further resettlement initiative was undertaken activated when he sent his son, Cornelius Kok I, to explore the area along the Orange River, in the process to established grazing lands.This how they moved north over the Kammiesberge and resided at Pella.  




The Adam Kok's

During the 1780's and 1790's more bastard families moved to the Orange River region and by the end of the century their domicile residence had become semi permanent. Hendrik Van Wyk and kido Witbooi was sent to explore greater Namaqualand where Jan Jonker Afrikaner was. Cornelius Kok I, who was handed the Kapitynship by his father in about 1795, did not stay on after explorations in the area, return to his farms in Namaqualand. He handed the staff of leadership to his son Adam Kok II and his son in-law Barend Barendse.The first British society(LMS),which commenced their mission at the Cape in1799.The arrival of John Phillip proved to be the turning point in the history of the Griqua. Cornelius Kok I himself became a christian and seems to have been baptised by 1800.

In 1804 the biggest mistake of the Kok's families was to gave permission for the Missionary William Anderson to build a house for him at Klaarwater.

Free - State

The Griqua people came to Philippolis in 1823 by invitation of Reverent John Philip. At Philippolis, the leadership of Adam Kok II and later Adam Kok III and his council govern from 1826 - 1862. During this time, Philippolis bloomed with various cultures that include the Griqua culture and way of life. When the Griqua peoples left for ‘No-man’s Land’ due to the Maitland treaty in 1862, this cultural unity and living history slowly but surely died out until only remnants can be found today in secluded communities within the Province. With the removal of Adam Kok III from Philippolis not all the Griqua people moved with him and they were led by these prominent leaders.


In the year 1833, Kaptyn Adam Kok II gave Jan Kraalshoek a piece of land at Brandewynsfontein (now known as Bethane). Adam Kok III renewed this agreement . It is important to note that the Kraalshoek family was both identified as Koranna and Griqua. Some alien themselves with the Koranna tribe based on their association with the Koranna Council and other because they could speak the Cora Language.

Benjamin Kraalshoek was a leader in Kimberley during 1864, and then later relocated to Bethany. Hendrik Kraalshoek I, Titus Witvoet, Maria Hofman and Andries Buffelbout formed the Council. Ben and Maria Kraalshoek were among the Koranna speakers that was founded in Pniel during 1933. Others alien themselves with as Griqua because of their identity card, like Hendrik ‘Kleinspruit II’ Kraalshoek. He was the Kaptyn in 1933. Hendrik ‘Kleinspruit’ Kraalshoek III was appointed as Kaptyn by Hendrik ‘Kleinspruit’ Kraalshoek II and Andries Kraalshoek in 1960. Under his supervision, Johannes ‘Doenkie’ Kraalshoek became Kaptyn.


Reigning of the Kaptynship


In 1974 one man, Johannes Kraalshoek key role in the fight for the Land Restitution case against the Evangelic Lutheran Church for Bethane. In 1999, he won the first Land Restitution case in the Province, the Bethane case. The community, which he helped in this case, was the Griqua -; the Koranna -; the Se-Sotho and the Barolong people.


Adam Kok III


 In 1713 a smallpox epidemic virtually wiped out the remaining Khoi-khoi tribal groups that remained in or near Cape Town[1]. Some of the few survivors fled the colony, trekking northwards in the direction of the Orange (Garip or Gariep) River where some linked up with the Korana and Klein Namaqua tribes. Other smaller clans, in an attempt to preserve some of their culture, formed small, autonomous settlements along the west coast, one of these being Kogmanskloof (near present day Philadelphia in the Swartland), the last kraal of Cochoqua chief Gonnema before his death. Further devastating epidemics followed in 1755 and 1767.


The remaining Khoi-khoi became labourers in the land of their ancestors, the women drafted into the free burgher households and the men forming seasonal worker gangs, eventually becoming bonded labourers on the farms.


The so-called Free Blacks, consisting mainly of manumitted slaves, formed a heterogeneous community in and around Cape Town, some having been granted land to farm the agricultural districts of Stellenbosch and Drakenstein[2]. The urban free blacks became (or were, as slaves) masters in trades that the settlers regarded as being beneath them, which included that of tailors, coopers, shoemakers, masons, saddlemakers, fishermen and carpenters. Others were drafted by the Company into the more menial public service tasks such as the fire brigade[3].


The Basters, by now forming a small but notable percentage of the colonial and frontier populations, often emerged from more long-term relations between settler fathers and Khoi-khoi mothers (where the settler remains the head of household), where it is assumed that the children would grow up with the Dutch culture and language, including the practice of Christianity and baptism in the Dutch Reformed church. Even so, these children could not always hope to grow up to be included as equals in a society already steeped in cultural divisions, although females always had a better chance of being assimilated into burgher society due to the shortage of European wives. Some, albeit few, did reach a respectable economic status, either as landowners or owning large stock herds without necessarily holding title over land.


So these distinct racial divisions began to be entrenched, though not legislatively formalized, within the colonial order and, along with it, a steady hardening of racial attitudes towards the "nether" groups. Settler immigration was on the increase and some white artisans found themselves having to compete with people of colour, mostly ex-slaves, for employment or niches in certain trades, especially those associated with building construction. Needless to say, the associated tensions were never healthy.


In around 1735, a young baster by the name of Adam Kok gathered various groups of people of colour and farmed in the area around Piquetberg. Adam Kok was born near Piquetberg in 1710[4] and is said to have married the daughter of a Khoi-khoi headman, the leader of a Goringhaiqua clan living in that vicinity. Due to pressures of the expanding colony, he later moved with his community to the Khamiesberg, where together they established a flourishing farming community. Kok had exceptional leadership ability and his skills as negotiator and mentor was said to even attract white followers who had fallen into disfavour with the colonial authorities. His baster group was, therefore, completely multiracial as he had ex-slaves or free blacks, Khoi-khoi and settlers among his community.


In the Khamiesberg[5], this group of basters attracted many other groups who had trekked away from colonial influence to the increasing racial tension and to avoid being drafted into commando duty. His community grew steadily in numbers, he and his family acquiring large flocks of sheep. Kok and his followers formed a convenient "buffer" between the frontier farmers or trekboere and the Khoi-khoi tribes to the north, the Korana and Namaqua. Kok had no intention of alienating his Khoi-khoi friends, so he was constantly called upon to use his exceptional diplomacy to foster peaceful relations between the Khoi-khoi groups and his community, as well as between themselves and the trekboere.


However, the inevitable happened with by the trekboer expansion into the north and northwest towards Namaqualand and the Roggeveld, resulting in Kok having to uproot his Khamiesberg community and trek toward the Gariep River from about 1780.


It is interesting that, despite the fact that the Basters were always systematically forced northwards by the ever-increasing pressures of trekboer expansion, it was this very migration pattern that expanded the reach of the colonial influence and economy and, as they continued to be the "buffer" between the trekboer expansion and the independent Khoi-khoi tribes north of the Gariep River, they emerged as the true colonial frontiersmen over the next decade (c.1780 – 90). This fact has to be acknowledged by the colonial masters of the day and resulted in the "staff of captaincy" over his dependants being granted to Adam Kok. In 1795, after years of shaping the colonial frontier, an old and tired Adam Kok I transferred this staff to his son, Cornelis[6].

 At around the same time another Baster "Captain" by the name of Barend Barends[7] had established himself in an area approximately 50 km east of Prieska Drift, and by 1805, a clearly defined Baster community began to take shape in the area known as Transorangia (later Griqualand West), having formed agricultural settlements in a series of villages along natural springs, settlements which included Leeuwenkuil and Klaarwater (modern-day Griquastad or Griquatown)[8].


The Basters had, by the late 18th and early 19th century, established and maintained contact with missionaries of the London Missionary Society (LMS), which included visits by Revs Anderson & Kramer (April 1801), Lichtenstein (1805) and Rev John Campbell (1807 and 1813). This continued "mentorship" by the missionaries introduced many aspects of European social ideals and practices among the Basters and their ancillary groups that were constantly being absorbed into their communities. The system of "Native Agency", applied on the eastern frontier by Van der Kemp and Read, was introduced by Campbell, then director of the LMS, to the Basters at Klaarwater and the until hitherto illicit practice of trade with the independent Khoi-khoi and southernmost Tswana groups north of the border became regulated, to a large extent. The Basters, who were fast becoming an agricultural entity in the frontier regions, relied on good relations with their northern neighbours and constant trade with these peoples also fostered peaceful relations.


According to historical record, it was Rev John Campbell who, in 1813, persuaded the Kok and Barends families that they should, as a result of their having suspended their semi-nomadic pastoralist economy and forged a permanent settlement at the frontier, that they should adopt the name "Griqua" (instead of Basters or Bastaards) as their own. The name is said to have evolved from the tribal identity of the Guigriqua (also called Grigriqua and Chariguriqua in some sources) tribe that formed a large percentage of their (Baster) numbers. The new identity was intended to foster the integration of the various groups that made up the Baster numbers as well, more importantly, fulfill the mission ideal of establishing the Griqua as a new class of agricultural yeomanry.

Around the same time, a young man named Andries Waterboer, allegedly of Bushman (San) origin, was appointed to the mission church at Griquatown as a lay preacher.


It was also around the 1813 visit of John Campbell that the first "constitution" of the Griqua state was laid out by Campbell, consisting of 14 simple regulations/laws that would be enforced though a formal legal system, with a court consisting of nine judges or magistrates, with a court of appeal overseen by the two missionaries, Campbell and Read, along with the two "Captains", Barend Barends and Adam Kok II, son of Cornelis. This is the first mention of Adam Kok II as Griqua Captain in the historic record[9].


Here history is very vague with regard to the transfer of leadership between the two generations, especially with regard to the chronology of it and related events. By this time, Cornelis would have been close to 70 years old, if indeed still alive.


As soon as this new "statelet" beyond the borders of the colony had been established, no sooner had it begun to disintegrate due largely to inevitable colonial influence and prescription. Lord Charles Somerset, governor at the Cape, accused the Griqua state of harbouring absconding labourers and attempted to halt Griqua trade privileges. At the same time, he prevailed upon the Griqua to provide the colony with military conscripts to the Cape Corps for campaigns on the other colonial frontiers, a request refused by the missionary William Anderson[10].

With the suspension of formal trade privileges, the Griqua chiefs Kok and Barends continued trading with the white frontier farmers as well as with other tribes, including the Batlaping and other Tswana tribes, a practice outlawed by the Cape government. Once again, Somerset tried to regulate this practice by instituting a trade fair at Beaufort West and invited the two chiefs to trade legally once again. Kok and Barends arrived at the fair in August 1819 with large numbers of tusks, cattle and other trade goods, but the white traders had nothing that was in demand by them (notably arms and ammunition and other imported goods) so they boycotted subsequent fairs and continued their "illicit" trade with frontier boers. Adam Kok II and his followers had meanwhile left Griquatown and settled in present-day Campbell in 1820, while Barends moved to Danielskuil and later to Boetstap. The LMS missionaries, particularly Robert Moffat, steadily losing face with the colony as well as the Griqua, encouraged those remaining at Griquatown to choose a new leader. Andries Waterboer was "unanimously" elected, to the delight of the LMS, as he had been educated at Griquatown under the "eye of the missionaries", therefore ensuring that they could bring some control to the area.


The early 1820's saw the turmoil in Griqualand increasing to a degree, with Waterboer firmly asserting authority over the Griqua under his "rule", fueled by the patronizing influence of the missionaries. Some followers left his area of influence and moved toward the Langeberg region where, joined by a few Korannas and displaced San, and began a campaign of raiding settlements under the influence of the missionaries, including those of the Batlaping and other Tswana tribes, as well as the Griqua settlements under Waterboer. These became known as the "Bergenaars". By 1824 Moshesh (or Moshoeshoe), king of the Basotho, seeked refuge at Griquatown under the protection of Waterboer[11].


Another famous LMS missionary, the Rev Dr John Philip, a scholar of William Wiberforce and his Reformist Movement and a champion of the "oppressed natives of Africa", arrived on the scene[12].


Philip had a somewhat patronizing view that the Griqua "state" was, indeed, as much a "product" of the enterprising teachings of the LMS as their own toil, in keeping with his policy of "humanitarian imperialism". As offshoots of the colony from which they separated themselves, the Griqua should therefore be strengthened as a "first frontier" between the colony and forces of subjugation, including the so-called Bergenaars[13]. From 1829 he lobbied the colonial government to recognize the Griqua State as the only legitimate authority outside of the colony and that the Griqua be formed into a "frontier militia" to maintain peace along the northern frontier, with Waterboer as their paramount leader. By 1832 he came up with two options: either the Griqua territory be incorporated into the colony along the lines of the Kat River settlement or that Waterboer be acknowledged as supreme ruler of Transorangia, with sufficient arms to maintain control over the territory and its people, including those followers of Kok and Barends. This was enacted in 1834, when Waterboer was granted a treaty which made him "friend and ally" to the colonial government, bound to protect the frontier, with a salary of ₤100 and enough arms and ammunition.


In 1826 Philip had approved Adam Kok II's settlement at Philippolis, a former San/Bushman[14] mission station, as long as he recognized Waterboer as overall Griqua leader. Invariably, conflicts over legitimate leadership developed as Kok maintained an amiable relationship with the trekboers by means of trade and, to some extent, short-term leases of grazing land. This was somewhat against the missionary "vision" of mentorship over the whole Griqua nation, as Kok's Griquas retained more of their pastoralist culture than those of Waterboer, thereby remaining aloof of missionary influence. By 1835, Philip started to entertain thoughts that Adam Kok had to be granted at least the same status as leader as Waterboer in order for the notion of a secure northern front to be realized. At Philip's urging, Adam Kok II traveled to Cape Town in order for his sovereignty to be recognized, but died while still within the colony. In 1837 a treaty was entered into between his son, Adam Kok III, and Andries Waterboer, which led to the division of the Griqua territories into two separate "states", but provided for joint council meetings and co-operation in common issues such as warfare and defence[15].

Adam Kok III was born on 16 October 1811 at Griquatown and was educated at the Philipolis Mission School. He was appointed to the Griqua Council at a relatively early age and even acted as chief whilst his father was away. This made him the natural choice to succeed his father after his death in 1835 instead of his older brother Abraham.

Adam II's policy of short-term leases to the trekboers had the unintentional result that by 1836, 1500 farmers had settled in the Griqua territories. A law passed by Adam Kok III in 1838 forbade the sale of leased land to the trekboers, modified in 1840 by means of a treaty with the leader of the boer "immigrants, M A Oberholster, where the boers have to recognize Kok's jurisdiction and authority over the land while they could let the land from the Griquas. Although they were not allowed to sell, the Griquas agreed to very long leases with the Europeans, in some cases as long as 40 years.


In 1841/2[16] the British annexed Natal, the first Boer Republic, and by 1842 many boer farmers spilled over into the Philipolis region. As a result the British proclaimed sovereignty over Transorangia. Kok's territorial claims, seeked by his father at the time of his death, were finally recognized in a 1843 agreement with the Cape Governor, thereby giving Kok sovereignty over the boer settlers as well. The trekkers resented being governed by a "Griqua Kaptyn" and conflict resulted. As a result of an 1846 treaty, the land was divided into an inalienable reserve where Boers would limit occupancy, and alienable territory where they could lease land, but this treaty was amended in 1848 by Cape governor Sir Harry Smith, resulting in Kok losing control over the alienable territory and only retaining nominal power over the inalienable land. The Griqua was slowly losing the hold over the Transorangia (Griqualand West) and the events of the next decade saw this fragile hold being further eroded by further treaties and subsequent amendments, including the abandonment of the sovereignty due to the Bloemfontein Convention of 1854 and "land transactions" registered by officials in the new Orange Free State between Europeans and individual Griqua, which saw the establishment of a "European Village, later to be named Fauresmith. By 1860 it was clear that the British had all but sold out Adam Kok's Griquas, who had become the victims of collateral damage in this Anglo-Boer "conflict", their land served up as a bargaining chip for future peace[17].


In 1859[18] Adam Kok III set up a commission to investigate the feasibility of moving to a sparsely populated tract of land known as No Mans Land.

In 1861 Adam Kok and 3000 of his followers began their trek, which would take them via Smithfield and Hangklip by 1862. Here the Griquas lost many of their cattle and horses to an intense drought as well as raids by the Basotho until, in February 1863, they crossed the Drakensberg at Ongeluks Nek and descended along the banks of the Kenigha River on to Mount Currie (then known as Berg Vyftig), where they founded Griqualand East.


From around 1863 the Griqua made a concerted effort to revive their herds and flocks, which had all but been lost during and directly after the trek, and by 1870 reports that the toil of the Griqua had begun to bear fruit, with stock recovering to acceptable levels and crops (mostly wheat) flourishing. Residences of brick or turf were being constructed in the new seat of Griqua government, Kokstad and meticulous records kept with regard to the day-to-day administration of Kok's government. Although left to their own devices by Governor Grey at the Cape, the Griqua succeeded in setting up an efficient method of government (Uitvoerende Raad) and legislature (Volksraad). The Griqua government raised its revenue through taxes, trading licenses and fines and in 1867, actually printed their own currency for use as tender in Griqualand East[19]. These coins and notes never reached full circulation, however, and payments, levies, etc, were usually in cattle, goats, sheep and grain.



Various events in the general history of South Africa overshadowed that of the Griqua nation proper during the early 1870's, but these, including the discovery of the diamond fields, prompted the Cape Colony to place Griqualand East under custodial government in 1874, effectively deposing Kok.


Adam Kok III died without an heir on 28 April 1878, and the Cape Colony formerly annexed Griqualand East in October 1879[20].



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Thomas Koekemoer | Reply 19.08.2019 11.59

Good morning. My name is Thomas Koekemoer, son of Dawid Koekemoer. My uncle, Pastoor Jacob "Kannie" Koekemoer passed away on 02/03/2001. Any information?

christopher fitchet | Reply 08.06.2019 22.40

Good Evening, It is amazing to find this webpage. My famliy are from Fauresmith. Frederik Carel Hefer hired a farm from Adam Kok Spreeuwpoort in 1832. Are there

Valerie Baxter | Reply 15.02.2019 06.35

Hi my name is Valerie I am trying to discover my ancestry surname Pienaar

Penny Campbell | Reply 10.01.2019 16.44

Can the references also be published.
My Dad was classified Griqua and would like to research more and add to this history if acceptable to the royal house. The

Penny Campbell | Reply 10.01.2019 16.40

Hello, I am interested in the rest of the story of our heritage - its just stops at "WHAT HAS HAPPEN REAlLY AFTER ADAM KOK III DEATH AT GRIQUALAND EAST...."

Barry jacobs | Reply 28.12.2018 08.05

BIe goed.
Groete en Seeninge Barry Jacobs chief Gourikwa Khoisan stamhuis

Chery | Reply 15.10.2018 23.38

My surname is Walstroom and I'm trying to discover my ancestry

Georgina Gail Tasseron | Reply 29.05.2018 15.04

In the Griqua Royal history abstract, mention is made of my great great grandfather William John Elsort Crossley. However I can't find any mention of him

Georgina Gail Tasseron 17.02.2019 16.58

Am researching my great great grandfather William John Jeremias Crossley, secretary to Adam Kok. I have a copy of a document in his own hand. July 1860.

Georgina Gail Tasseron | Reply 25.05.2018 16.05

Aam researching my great great grandfather William John Elsort Crossley, secretary to Adam Kok. I have a copy of a document in his own hand. July 1860

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Latest comments

10.09 | 14:20


10.09 | 13:57


19.08 | 11:59

Good morning. My name is Thomas Koekemoer, son of Dawid Koekemoer. My uncle, Pastoor Jacob "Kannie" Koekemoer passed away on 02/03/2001. Any information?

10.08 | 17:16

Hi I think my gran Ma was a Griqua Lady but we finding it hard to find out I’m a old KZN boy now in Texas my Gran pa was a Welsh man .blessings to all Garry

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