For thousands of years, Cape Town was inhabited by the Strandloper (ancestors of Kalahari Bushmen). Cape Town’s European history began in 1652, when Jan van Riebeeck established a trading post there on behalf of the VOC (Dutch East Indies Company). The first European settlers were mainly Dutch, with some French Huguenots that had to flee from religious persecution in their home country. The first settlers soon explored the adjacent hinterland and founded the cities of Stellenbosh and Paarl in today’s Cape Winelands. The Voortrekkers (Pioneers of European descent) started from here to explore and settle the rest of South Africa.