All those numerous tribes of Namaquas
, once possessed of vast herds of cattle, are in the course of less than a century dwindled away to four hordes, which are not very numerous and in a great measure are subservient to the Dutch peasantry.
1838) An expedition of discovery into the interior of Africa, through the hitherto undescribed Countries of the Great Namaquas, Boschmans, and Hill Damaras, performed Under the Auspices of Her Majesty's Government, and the Royal Geographical Society.
The local Namaqua people were wearing copper bands on their arms and ankles when they first met the Dutch explorers in the 1660's, and it was this fact that prompted the first expeditions to find the "copper mountain.
This belief seemed supported when some copper ore was brought to Cape Town by the indigenous Namaqua people, and samples were sent to Holland for analysis.
Logistical problems on route, mainly a lack of water and rumors of marauding Namaqua, forced them to turn back for the Cape settlement before finding any copper.
Before the party left, however, van der Stel personally interrogated some Namaqua who had visited Cape Town, and they informed him of a copper mountain only 15 days' travel from the Cape.