One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
One of a group of freed Malay slaves who were employed to fight with the Dutch colonists against the indigenous people of the Cape of Good Hope, and also later against the British, during the period of Dutch East India Company rule in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Early 18th century. From Dutch Mardijker, probably from Javanese mardika free + Dutch -er.
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