History of Knysna
The original inhabitants of the area, the Khoikhoi or Khoi, were a historical division of the Khoisan ethnic group, the native people of southwestern Africa, closely related to the Bushmen (or San, as the Khoikhoi called them). They had lived in southern Africa since the 5th century AD.
However there are theories that Knysna's history (and certainly that of nearby coastal areas) can be traced back even further, as indicated in historian Christopher Blyth's comments "In the Beginning".
Prior to that, and confirmed by a recent find of an ancient tooth (which experts have estimated to be about 120 - 140 million years old), there were dinosaurs in the area.
Knysna's documented "modern" history is generally acknowledged to start in 1770 with the arrival of the first colonial settlers.
The Timeline is a much condensed version of Steve Collinson's book, KNYSNA : 250 Years of History.
Please contact us if you are interested in purchasing a copy.
A timeline of some of the historical events and characters, and other interesting information, which made Knysna what it is today. From the first colonial settlers in 1770, right up to 2020.
Find out about: explorers and settlers, discoveries and disasters, ships and ship wrecks, roads and railways, buildings and bridges, timber and gold, oysters and honey, beer and gin, elephants and sea horses, sericulturists and lepidopterists, world records and world champions, festivals and shows, and much more.
Many other people have written articles and books about Knysna's history, and more detailed information can be found by reading the material listed on the References page, as well as by visiting Knysna's museums (see Knysna Activities).