History of Somerset West, South Africa
The first Europeans to reach this area in 1657, where cattle traders from Cape Town. On their arrival they found a community of around 500 Chainoukwa people, these people prospered and were delighted to live in one of the prettiest parts of the world. Some 15 years later the land was bought from the community by the Dutch East India Company and the Chainoukwa left there cherished homeland. Although it was not allowed for members of the company town land, these rules were easily broken for such superior areas.
All ran well until word got back to Company in Holland that there officials were using there position to claim land and that Company slaves and materials were being used on these private farms.
These farming communities eventually founded the village of Somerset West, when in 1817 they decided to build a Church to avoid the inconvenience of traveling to Stellenbosch. The church was finished in 1820 and on the 13th of February Lord Charles Somerset granted permission for the centre to bear his name. The church is now a historical monument.