The Harbour of Table Bay, Cape Town was originally referred to as Saldanha Bay in honour of the ascent in 1503 of Table Mountain by Antonio de Saldanha. A Dutch renamed the place of Saldanha to Table Bay in 1600 as the Dutch trade increased. Cape Town, as the oldest urban area in South Africa, was developed by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) as a supply station for Dutch ships sailing to East Africa, India, and the Far East. Jan van Riebeeck’s arrival on 6 April 1652 established Dutch Cape Colony. Cape Town outgrew its original purpose as the first European outpost at the Castle of Good Hope, becoming the economic and cultural hub of the Cape Colony.
A lucrative occupation was the keeping of boarding houses for sailors and other visitors to the town. Payment for board and lodging was frequently made in the form of goods smuggled in or clothing which lodgers had to sell to the landlord to pay their bills when the time for departure came. Reckless expenditure of the Company’s officials and sailors on their way back to Holland happened most of the time. Many lived beyond their means and spent their savings so recklessly that they were called, ‘heeren van ses weeken’ as they went through all their money in six weeks.
Free burghers also made a living by keeping taverns where soldiers and sailors could drink wine and met the burghers of the town.