My name is Willem Kempen and I am a descendant in this CLAASSENS Family.
My grandmother, Jacoba Magdalena Claassens, died on 25th June 1952 when I was 9. She was 70 years of age as she was born on 5th March 1882.
I really do not remember much of her, only that she lived across the road from us in a nice modern house called Bona Vista. Her nickname was Aunt Kosie but to us she was just Ouma. I was allowed to cross the road to visit her at her neat house and eat copious amount of Lemon Cream biscuits. Come to think of it….I still enjoy Lemon Creams!!
Ouma Kosie married Oupa Willie Kempen on 20th November 1903 at Victoria West. They were both born in the district and their marriage brought together two stalwart families of the area. They had three children; Vera (Johanna Batavera) who was born on 23rd December 1904, Bernie Johannes (my father), who was born on 19th August 1908, and Henry (Willem Johannes Hendrik) who was born on 7th May 1925.
Ouma Kosie,young Henry,Oupa Willie ca. 1930
My grandfather, Willem Hendrik Marthinus Abraham Kempen (he later changed his name by deed poll to Willem Hendrik Kempen, on account that there were no less than five persons of the same name and corresponding age, all cousins, living on close proximity to Victoria West in that era), became a partner in the legal firm of Probart, Cloete and Kempen in 1901. In 1902 Probart died suddenly and the firm traded as Cloete and Kempen for many years until 1919 when Oupa Willie left to establish a practise on his own. In 1922 he brought in Gert Kempen, a second cousin, and the partnership became known as Kempen and Kempen. My father, Bernie Johannes, joined the firm in 1934 and remained there until his death in 1974. The firm Kempen and Kempen survived until June 2000 when it was sold a another legal firm and the name changed. However the name was reinstated in 2010. Oupa Willie was elected Mayor of Victoria West for many consecutive years and he and Ouma Kosie lived a happy life at their home ‘Nie-te-hoog’ (Not too high) in Brinkman Street, Victoria West. He died in 1933 from pneumonia at the young age of 56.
My grandmothers’ parents were Johannes Hendrik Claassens and Johanna Cornelia Immelman and they farmed on the family property, Gemsboksfontein, just nine kilometres west of Victoria West. Their other children were Maria Hugo Claassens (Aunt Meraai), born 18th March 1884. She married Vincent Charles Cloete. The next child, Jacob Johannes Claassens, was born 6th April 1887. He married Joan Mary Hofmeyer. The youngest child was Johanna Cornelia Claassens (Aunt Jo) was born 23rd December 1891. She married Johannes Hendrik Wicht.
Johannes Hendrik Claassens
Miscarriage of Justice
A colourful tale relates to my Great-grandfather, Johannes Hendrik Claassens. It reads like this:
Around about 1898, a prisoner escaped from the Victoria West jail. He was an African man. Into the setting sun the the escapee made his way to the west. My great-grandfather, Johannes Hendrik Claassens, was a sheep farmer at the farm Gemsboksfontein about nine kilometres to the west out of Victoria West. Later that evening my grandmother Kosie who was 18 years of age at the time, was preparing to go to bed and was dressed in her underwear, when she spotted a black face looking at her through the bedroom window. She gave a frightened scream and her father came running to investigate. She related her story in haste and her dad ran outside grabbing his rifle which always stood near the front door of the farm house. In the pale moonlight he spied a figure running away and without thinking raised his rifle and fired a shot in the direction of the fleeing figure. “Well”, thought JH, “that would put the wind up him”. And without further ado they went to bed.
The following morning, just after sunrise, the Victoria West Constabulary arrived, to ask if JH had seen any strangers. “Oh Yes” said JH and related his story. “Well Mr Claassens, you had better come with us to see if he is still hiding out on your farm”, the Police insisted. So off they went in the general direction JH gave them. “What’s this” exclaimed the Police, spying a dried drop of blood on a rock nearby. Now the search began in earnest. They scoured the gullies and the small creek beds, they looked through their binoculars near and far but saw nothing. About lunch time the search party sat down for a breather up on a randjie(small ridge). “He’s not here” said JH. “Oh yes, he is”, said one of the searchers. Just beneath them amongst the rocks, lay the body of the fugitive. An object had entered his back and passed through close to the heart !
“No,No,Noooooo. This has nothing to do with me”, protested JH.
“Sorry, Mr. Claassens”, said the Police Sergeant, “by your own admission I have no alternative but to arrest you”.
The court case attracted a lot of attention. JH was a well known and respected member of the Victoria West community. The newspapers, seven hundred kilometres away in Cape Town, had a field day, decrying the lawlessness and lack of civility in the far flung regions of the Cape Province, prejudging the accused as a criminal.
The Supreme Court Judge, Barristers, Attorneys and clerks all arrived in Victoria West by train for the case. The Judge, it is surmised, was of English heritage and took a dim view of Afrikaner Boer farmers. He treated JH with disdain and instructed the barristers to do the same. The proceedings took three days and by the end of the trial things were looking grim for JH. The Judge declared that he would make his deliberation overnight and give his verdict the next morning at 9 am sharp!
The following morning the Judge arrived in court on time and when all were seated the Court Messenger handed a note to him. As he read the note the colour drained out of his face and he appeared to be shaking.
The note read, I have been told, as follows:
“Your Honour. We, the public and citizens of Victoria West, hold Mr. Johannes Hendrik Claassens in great esteem. We are certain that his actions were unintentional and that the death of the fugitive was the result of an accident. If you decide to find Mr.Claassens guilty of this charge then we will not be able to guarantee your safe passage from Victoria West to where you must board the train for Cape Town. Please look out of the window to see what we mean.”
He rose from his chair, which sent the whole court jumping up, and walked over to the window and looked out. He returned to his chair and sat down. After some quiet moments he spoke. “I have given great consideration to this matter before me and I declare now that I find Mr Johannes Hendrik Claassens NOT GUILTY as charged”.
Outside there were 30 Horse Commando Riders of the Victoria West Commando Unit, mounted, with their rifles aimed at the court building.
The newspaper headlines in Cape Town screamed:
GREAT MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE IN VICTORIA WEST!
Johannes Hendrik Claassens was the eldest of two sons born to Jacob Johannes Claassens born 17th April 1828 at Victoria West and Maria Catharina Jacoba Hugo born 22nd February 1829 at Victoria West.
The parents of Jacob Johannes Claassens were Johannes Hendricus Claasen born 22nd October 1775 and Jacoba Magdalena De Klerk born around 1800 at Graaff-Reinet. Please note the surname change. This was Johannes Hendricus Claasen’s second marriage. He had previously been married to Cornelia Margaretha Theresia van Wyk(abt1780). They had 10 children together.
Johannes Hendricus Claasen was the only child of Hermanus Claasen born 15th June 1732 and Cornelia Ryk born 26th January 1744 at Cape Town.
Hermanus Claasen was the 10th child of Hendrik Claesz born about 1685 at Cape Town and Maria Booijs born about 1690 at Cape Town. Please note the surname change.
Hendrik Claesz was the 4th and youngest child of the former slaves Claasz Gerritsz born about 1660 somewhere in the present day Bangladesh and Sara, former slave and born about 1666 on the Island of Solor in the Indonesian Archipelago.
All the historical research from Johannes Hendricus Claasen has been taken and reproduced with permission from the published Claasen Genealogy Book. The text has been emailed by various genealogy researchers to me.
CLAAS GERRITS(Z) OF BENGALE
An important stamvader to many South Africans, together with Claas Mallebaar, he shares the rare distinction of being one of the very few non-European stamvaders to have founded a family that became an integral part of the indigenous white Afrikaans-speaking community in southern Africa.
A freed slave from Bengal, his descendants came to bear the patronymic Claesz and also use the surname Claassen. A major portion of his descendants in the male line has been incorrectly ascribed in published works to another stamvader Cornelis Claesz van Utrecht (alias Kees de Boer). Claas Gerritsz has also been ignored in virtually all major genealogical publications and compilations of South African families. This publication hopefully sets the matter straight.
Historian Anna Bõeseken equates him with Gerrit van Bengale who was freed by his owner (patron) the free burgher Jochum Marquart on 23 December 1676.  He was already at the Cape in 1671. He appears in the Opgaaf Rol for the year 1682 as single adult male free burgher resident in the Cape District owning the following: 3 male slaves, 1 horse, 35 oxen, 650 sheep, 3 flintlocks and 1 dagger (degen). He was baptised as an adult at the Cape’s Groote Kerk on 10 February 1686 (no witnesses being recorded). The baptismal entry reads as follows:
Claes van Bengale beiaerde
Slavery and Bengal
Bengal is the present-day Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan). By 1718 the Dutch already had long since established six trading settlements in Mughal-occupied Bengal: Bellesoor (Balasore), Ballouwa or Volta (Falta), Bernagoor (Baranagar), Houghlij (Hug(h)li or Hoogli), Cossema Besaar (Kazimbazar) and Patana (Patna). Then there were also trading posts or factories manned by the English, Danes and French. Baranagar (which was also Danish-controlled) is singled out by Johan Daniel Buttner for its carnal pleasures: 
The Dutch Company has a pleasure-garden, although it is now in a desolate state. This is a place where dwell none but whores, of all sorts of peoples, such as Portuguese, Jentiven [ie Hindus] etc, and here prostitution is no disgrace, nor reckoned as any sin. Anyone who desires a whore can rent such a female and use her as long as he will; everywhere he goes he can take her with him, and when he will have her no longer nor desires her, he lets her go off again, and pays her so much as he thinks fit. This is called here ‘keeping a female’…
Buttner’s description of the local Hindu population (the Jentives) is worth quoting: 
The Jentiven, inhabitants of the lands of Bengal, have been here since antiquity, but are not under the rule of the Great Mogul. They offer their services to the Europeans who arrive by ship, to serve them as attendants or servants, since the custom here is that anyone may take a servant to serve him so long as he remains here, for which he pays him nothing except that he has the ‘Costumada’, that is to say when he buys anything [for his master] he receives from the merchant one rupee for each 100 rupees, and this is his pay. In addition, he gets Costumada from everything, although one must beware of such, since they are very deceitful…The inhabitants of the country are called Jentiven, although all the country is occupied and inhabited by the Moors. The Jentiven dress like the Moors or Turks, all in white linen, with a turban on the head. They live very frugally and eat little. They may not kill nor eat any living animal, but nourish themselves with milk, butter, roots, rice etc. They are very deceitful, and everyone must have a care of them lest he be deceived, and especial care of the merchants, who are called Benjanen [Banians], who are very sly and clever in trading. As regards language, they speak a distinct tongue which is not the same as Arabic, and this is called here the Bengal language, although Arabic is also in use and both are spoken…When the rich die they are burned. The wife also lets herself be burned with him, and leaps into the fire to the sound of many instruments. If she will not do this, her hair is cut off and she is chased away. Such a woman may not marry again, but must live by prostitution, and this they call ‘Pousseraun’, chasing away. Dead poor are usually thrown into the water. They take old men who can no longer walk or work to the bank, set a funnel in their gullet or neck and pour into the throat a mixture of sand and water so that they suffocate, and are then thrown into the water…
The origins of slavery in Bengal are steeped in antiquity. It is unlikely that Claes Gerritsz would have been Hindu or even Muslim, but not unlikely that he could have originally been sold by Moors. The existence of so-called tribal and mountain peoples (indigenes or aborigines) on the fringes of Muslim and Hindu society cannot be disregarded and also the abduction of people from places further afield such as Assam and Arakan (situated in the present-day Burma).
CLAAS GERRITSSZ VAN BENGALE at the Cape of Good Hope
On 16 October 1685 Claas Gerritz van Bengale purchased an erf in Block A in Zee Straat in the Table Valley (ie the present-day Strand Street in Cape Town) from the official Guilliam Heems. The size of the erf was 21 r 5′ (300,3 sq m). 
He married Sara van Soloor on 13 March 1686. According to the doopregister she was the slave of Willem van Dieden one of the Cape most influential personages  where she is described as Sara Seloor ‘dide meit’ and the maid of Willem van Dieden). She originated from the island of Solor in the Indonesian archipelago.
The islands of Solor
Part of the area of Indonesia now known as Nusa Tenggara (literally south-east islands) the Solor and Alor archipelagos are a small chain of islands stretching out from the eastern end of the much larger island of Flores: volcanic mountainous specks separated by swift narrow straits. Andonara is directly opposite Laratuka; south of Andonara is Solor where the Portuguese first established themselves in the 16th century; further east is Lembata (formerly Lomblen), with the fishing village of Lamalera where whales are still hunted with small boats and harpoons and beyond that the islands of Pantar and Alor whose people were still head-hunting just 30 years ago. The Solor Archipelago – Solor, Adonara and Lembata – has close cultural links the Larantuka area on Flores and together these people are known as the Lamaholot. Pantar and Alor are the main islands of the Alor Archipelago. 
Her toponym or provenance is sometimes referred to mistakenly as Ceylon, rather than Solor. Anna Bõeseken, equates her (incorrectly?) with Sara van Ceylon who was manumitted on 10 June 1676 by the skipper of the ship Voorsightigheijt Ouwel Jansen with the option of either returning to the East or staying at the Cape.  Her ownership by Willen van Dieden, however, is clear from the church records.
Sara from Soloor described as the meyt van Willem van Dieden baptised a voorkind on 29 October 1673. The child is described as ‘een onbekent christens kint, Henrijtte ‘ Her daughter was re-baptised later together with Sara’s other voorkinders. In this way she was legitimised by the marriage of her mother to Claas Gerritsz van Bengale and by the joint baptism together with her de jure siblings (even though they were actually her half-siblings). Sara’s (initially) illegitimate daughter Henrietta (Jette) came to be known and use the surname Wittebol(s) throughout her adult life. Once legitimised by her mother’s marriage to her step-father, she also used (and was known by) the name Henrietta Claasz. Indications are that the identity of her biological (or ascribed) father – even though she had merely been referred to in her baptismal entry as een onbekent christens kint – was no secret or unknown Christian. He was the surveyor and VOC official Joan / Johan Wittebol (c. 1648-1681) from Amsterdam who was quick to marry Maria van Ruijven / Reuven from Delft at the Cape on 16 September 1674, by whom he had one son, Johan.
Wittebol had arrived on the Gecroonde Vrede in 1669 as a midshipman and commenced working a provisional assistant of the Council of Policy and surveyor. As assistant and shopkeeper, he maintained the Company’s books of merchandise. Promoted to junior merchant in 1672, he was discharged and demoted for defects in his administration in 1672 and 1673 and until 1678 no longer served on the Council of Policy. In 1676 the VOC’s visiting commissioner Nicolaas Verburgh described him favourably ‘ een man van goede bequaamheijd en deughdelick comportement ‘ … and he was appointed as secretary to the Orphan Chamber serving on the Council of Policy from 1678 until his death in 1681 when holding the position of president of the Orphan Chamber. 
Sara van Solor herself was only baptised as an adult on 3 September 1679. The baptismal entry (no witnesses are recorded) reads as follows:
Sara Seloor dide meit beiarde
Although no record of her manumission has been found, she was probably freed just prior to her marriage on 13 March 1686 or at least some time after her baptism on 3 September 1679. We find Claas Gerritsz and Sara van Solor listed as a married couple in the muster roll (Opgaaf) for 1688:
Jan [sic] Gerrits from Bengal: 1 man; Sara van Ceylon [sic]: 1 wife: 3 sons; 1 daughter; 1 snaphaen [flint-lock]; Cape District
A month after his marriage to Sara van Solor, the free burgher Claas Gerritsz van Bengale purchased the slave named Pieter van Madagascar from the English slave trader Will Deeron for Rds 55 on 26 April 1686. 
The family appears in the muster roll for 1692:
Claas Gerrits 1 man
Sara van Ceylon [sic] 1 wife
3 sons [Meyndert, Gerrit & Hendrik]
1 daughter [Henriette]
1 adult male slave [ie Pieter van Madagascar]
The family appears again in the muster roll for 1695 (no. 286):
Claas Gerritsz van Bengale died in 1697 leaving a house and erf valued at f 3 000. There were 2 slaves in the estate who were sold for Rds 79 each and 2 flint-locks sold for f 36.  According to Anna Bõeseken, the plates for daily use were made of tin; the iron pots were used for cooking. There were a mirror and a painting on the wall. Claas Gerritsz and his family must have been hospitable people, for there were 32 ‘ tea-cups ‘and 38 saucers. The assets of the estate amounted to f 4000, after subtraction of the debts which came to f 247:10.  The inventory was signed on 5 November 1697. At the time of his death, his children were the following ages:
Hendriette Claas 23
Meijndert Claas 16
Gerrit Claas 11
Hendrik Claas 10.
His widow remarried in 1698 Herman Buys who hailed from Batavia and appears to have been a mestizzo or half-caste.  She obtained a divorce from her second husband in 1707 because he ill-treated her and her children from a previous marriage.  Buys had illegitimate children by the slave woman Diana van Trankebar. 
After her divorce Sara van Solor was granted an erf in Table Valley [Block A] the size of which was 9 r 120′ (ie 140,4 sq. m) on 20 January 1709 with the right to occupation for 16 years.  The property was adjacent to the property of her first husband. Again on 22 September 1713 she was given a second grant, an erf in Table Valley in Block A, the size of which was 3 r 123’ (ie 55,0 sq. m) with similar conditions of occupation as the previous grant.  Land grants to free blacks were rare in early Cape colonial society. Clearly she was still being favourably treated.
Her divorced husband was still in the neighbourhood as we find him baptising two slave children on 10 March 1709: 
Twe Slave-kinderen van Harmen Buijs. de moeder was Diana van Krankebaar  [sic]; de Getuigen Moses van Macassar; en Sara van Macassar – 1. Sara; 2. Pieter
The genealogy appears in the main text under Claas Gerrits(z) van Bengale.
CJ 2652 (Joint Will of Willem Pas & Geertruy Wiederholt) No 55.
CJ 2653 (Joint will of Hendrik Lodewyk Wiederholt & Geertruy Loots, wid/o Adam Albertyn ) No 66.
Master of the Orphan Chamber (MOOC)
MOOC 8/1 (Inventory of the free Black Claas Gerritsz van Bengale) No. 28 (5 November 1697).
MOOC 13/1/2 Boedel Reekeningen van Henrietta Wittebol Laast Wede:e Willem Lodewijk Wiederholt Num:o 31.
2. Deeds Office, Cape Town (DO/CT)
Land Grants (G)
Land Transfers (T)
3. Dutch Reformed Church Archives (DRC/A)
G1 Vol. 1/1 (Notule, Doopregister & Huweliksregister 1665-1695)
G1 Vol. 8/1 (Doopregister 1695-1712)
Bõeseken, Anna J.; Slaves and Free Blacks at the Cape 1658-1700 (Tafelberg, Cape Town 1977).
Bõeseken, Anna J.: Uit die Raad van Justisie, 1652-1672 (Die Staatsdrukker, Pretoria 1986).
Nienaber, G.S. & Raven-Hart, R.: Johan Daniel Buttner’s Account of the Cape / Brief Descriptions of Natal / Journal Extracts on East Indies (A.A. Balkema, Cape Town 1970).
Cummings, Joe, Forsyth, Susan, Noble, John, Samagalski, Alan & Wheeler, Tony: Indonesia: a travel survival kit (Lonely Planet Publications, Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia 1990).
Heese, Hans F., Groep Sonder Grense (Die rol en status van die gemengde bevolking aan die Kaap, 1652-1795) (Wes-Kaaplandse Instituut van Historiese Navorsing, Universiteit van Wes-Kaapland, Bellville 1984).
Heese, J.A. & Lombard, R.T.J.: South African Genealogies Vols. 1-5 (Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria, 1986, 1989, 1992 & Genealogical Institute of South Africa, Stellenbosch 1999).
Hoge, J.: Personalia of the Germans at the Cape 1652-1806 Archives Year Book for South African History / Argief-jaarboek vir Suid-Afrikaanse Geskiedenis (Government Printer, Cape Town 1946).
Kannemeyer, A.J.: Hugenote-Familie Boek (Unie-Volkspers, Kaapstad 1940).
Malan, Antonio: ‘ The Material World of Family and Household ‘ in Wadley, Lyn (ed.): Our Gendered Past: Archaeological Studies of Gender in Southern Africa (Witwatersrand University Press, Johannesburg 1997).
de Villiers, C.C. & Pama, C.: Genealogies of Old South African Families (A.A. Balkema, Cape Town 1966).
Visagie, J.C.: Wittebol, Johan, Dictionary of South African Biography, Vol. V, pp. 895-896 (Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria 1987).
de Wet, G. C.: Die Vryliede en Vryswartes in die Kaapse Nedersetting 1657-1707 (Die Historiese Publikasie-Vereniging, Kaapstad 1981).
Researched, compiled & written by MANSELL UPHAM (October 2000)
 Bõeseken, Anna J.: Slaves and Free Blacks at the Cape 1658-1700, pp. 82 & 133.
 G.S. Nienaber & R. Raven-Hart (eds.), Johan Daniel Buttner’s Account of the Cape, Brief Discription of Natal, Journal Extracts on East Indies, Historical Extracts from the Journal of the late Daniel Buttner, personally kept during 1711, 1712, 1717, 1718, 1719 and 1721, copied by Joachim Nicolaus van Dessin, p. 154.
 G.S. Nienaber & R. Raven-Hart, p. 153-156.
 G132 – T234. Anna Bõeseken states that, according to his deceased estate, he had been granted [sic] the property on 8 December 1683 (see Slaves and Free Blacks at the Cape 1658-1700, p. 96).
 He arrived aboard the Amersfoort as adelborst in 1665. In 1668 he was appointed assistent (according to Anna Bõeseken, Uit die Raad van Justisie, p. 322, n. 914, he was appointed assistent by Joan Thijssen in 1669). Hackius used him as dispensier. In April 1672 promoted to ondercoopman but in 1673 he was dismissed by commander Goske and became a free burgher. He was very active as wynpagter, traankoker, free butcher and also burgervaandrig and lieutenant. He married at the Cape on 21 August 1672 Grietje/n Frans(z) Meec(k)hoff from Steenwijck (born 1639). There is a poem by Pieter de Neyn (1643-?) in honour of her marriage to Van Dieden [see the latest anthology of Afrikaans poetry Die Afrikaanse poésie in ‘n duisend en enkele gedigte (Human & Rousseau, Kaapstad 2000) compiled by Dutch poet Gerrit Komrij]. The poem is entitled Hymens verhuisingh, voorgevallen op de bruiloft van den achtbaren ende wel-levende Heer Willem van Dieden, ende volmaakte Iuffrouw Margareta Meekhof. She was the widow of Hendrik Hendrikssen alias Hendrik Snijer from Surwurde (ie Sérwarden in Oldenborg). She arrived with Het Wapen van Amsterdam on 26 March 1658. She had the following children:
a son born 18 February 1659
Cathrijn / Catharijntje / Catharina baptised 12 April 1660; married (1) 27 September 1676 Marthinus van Banchem from Den Haag; married (2) 19 August 1696 Jacobus Nieuberg
a son (twin ) born Cape 8 May 1662 (died in infancy)
Elsje van Zuerwarden (twin) born Cape 8 May 1662; baptised Cape 8 October 1662; married (1) 8 June 1681 the onderkoopman Albert van Breugel; married (2) 8 May 1689 the secunde Andries de Man from Amsterdam; married (3) 16 December 1696 the onderkoopman & kassier Hendrik Munkerus from Haarlem.
Myndert van Suurwaerden baptised Cape 11 June 1666
Weijntje Helmersen van Zuerwaarden baptised Cape 29 June 1670
Geertruyd van Dieden baptised Cape 24 September 1673.
 Cummings, Joe, Forsyth, Susan, Noble, John, Samagalski, Alan & Wheeler, Tony: Indonesia,: a travel survival kit, p. 635.
 Bõeseken, Anna J.: Slaves and Free Blacks at the Cape 1658-1700, pp. 82 & 132.
 Visagie, J.C.: Wittebol, Johan, Dictionary of South African Biography, Vol. V, pp. 895-896.
 Bõeseken, Anna J.: Slaves and Free Blacks at the Cape 1658-1700, p. 145.
 MOOC 8/1 (Inventory of the free black Claas Gerritsz van Bengale) No 28 (5 November 1697).
 Bõeseken, Anna J.: Slaves and Free Blacks at the Cape 1658-1700, p. 96.
 Ie of mixed race (Eurasian).
 de Wet, G.C.: Die Vryliede en Vryswartes in die Kaapse Nedersetting 1657-1707, p. 212.
 See Heese/Lombard Vol. I, p. 523.
 Grant No. 2/172.
 Grant no. 2/242.
 DRC/A G1/1 Doopregister (Slaven Kinderen).
 Ie Trankebar (called by the Dutch Tranquebaer), a Danish factory or trading post on the Coromandel Coast of the sub-continent of India.