Georg Schmidt was born in Kunewalde on 30 September 1709 as the son of a peasant family. He was converted to Christianity at the age of 16.
In 1726, Schmidt set off on foot for Herrnhut in Saxony and started preparing to become an evangelist. On his first evangelistic mission in 1728, he was sent to Bohemia and was incarcerated for six years for addressing private meetings which violated the Roman Catholic law in that country.
In 1736, two years after his release, he received a letter from two clergymen in the Netherlands. They asked for volunteers to evangelise the Hottentots (Khoi-Khoi) at the Cape. Schmidt proceeded to Amsterdam on foot again, sailed for South Africa on ‘t Huijs te Rensburg on 4 December 1736 and landed in Table Bay on 9 July 1737. In September that year, he established himself near the Sonderend River beyond Caledon and later moved to Baviaans Kloof where he established the first Protestant mission station in Southern Africa. At this mission, he read the Dutch Bible to the Khoi-Khoi and taught them to read and write and also to plant and sow.
After having baptized his first converts in about 1742, Schmidt faced criticism from some clergymen in the Netherlands who were of the opinion that only Reformed ministers could baptize. They also regarded him as not having been properly ordained. He suspended his duties and left the country on 5 March 1744, intending to return after pleading his cause in Amsterdam. However, he did not get the permission he had hoped for and never returned to the Cape.
In 1752, after having served the Moravian Church in many different places in Bohemia, Schmidt settled at Niesky, where he passed away on 1 August 1785.