Published : May 29, 2023

How Montagu got its name

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Montagu has been home to many, both before and after 1851, when Uitvlucht farm officially started what is now known as the town of Montagu. You can read more about the history of our lovely town here, but for now we’re here to tell you how Montagu got its name.

Initially, the town was known as ‘Agter Cogmans Kloof’. Cogmans kloof once linked the town and the railway station, and thus it was known as ‘Behind’ or ‘Agter Cogmans Kloof’. ‘Cogmans’ comes from the name of a former leader of the Khoekhoe people called the Cochoqua. The leader’s name was ‘Cochob’, which means ‘narrow cheeks’. He and his people migrated from the Saldanha Bay region, where they were settled, once the Dutch colonists landed in South Africa, to the area now known as Ashton and Montagu at the end of the seventeenth century. The name went through several different iterations: ‘Cochonas’ to ‘Cockomans’ to ‘Cochmans’ and finally it settled on ‘Cogmans’. The Cogmans Kloof pass was constructed by the famous road engineer Thomas Bain from 1873 to 1877, thus easing the process of getting out of the town.

The town, however, officially changed its name to Montagu to honour the Cape Colony’s then Colonial Secretary, John Montagu. The British army officer and civil servant served in this position from 1843 to 1853.

If you would like to find out more about Montagu’s history, why not head over to the Montagu Museum on your next visit? Be sure to ask our friendly staff at reception for directions, or if you have any further questions regarding historical sites in Montagu they will be more than happy to help.

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