Try to decipher what is fact, and what is opinion, as sometimes the two are not the same. There will be a test! Do you know any more historical facts about our favorite island? If you do, send them to me , and I'll get them on the list!
The molten core of the earth begins to push up to form the Laccadives, Maldives, and Chagos archipelagos, including the mountain that will eventually become Diego Garcia. The great Austronesian diaspora is in full swing. They also traveled the South Equatorial Current of the Indian Ocean, which flows from east to west between the equator and 10 degrees south, reaching Madagascar around this time.
Chances are they passed near Diego Garcia at 7 degrees south , perhaps even landing, but did not establish permanent settlements. This is the first time Diego is shown or mentioned anywhere in the world. He sails through the Chagos Archepelago, discovers and names Diego Garcia. He takes his fleet across the Indian Ocean and at about six degrees south finds himself in extremely shallow water and in danger of running aground.
He spent three days picking through the reefs probably the Great Chagos Bank before reaching the safety of the open ocean. His tale of near disaster keeps mariners from entering the area for over years. Lancaster's fleet was the very first trading expedition of the British East India Company earlier trips - by Lancaster and Michelbourne - being essentially pirate raids.
He described it as being ten or twelve leagues long and being covered with coconut trees, with fish and birds abundant. Ortelio ex eodem Delineatus" which shows some islands about where Diego Garcia lies today. This was also the first time the F word was used on the island, when a sailor undoubtably said "How long did you say we are staying on this fing island? Late s The name Diego Garcia becomes standard on maps of the time.
The crew, however, fails to name one single island feature for Parliamentary Speaker Pitt. He later writes, 'A large number of vessels could anchor here in safety. The island has a great many coconut trees and is covered with jungle. Many of the trees, such as the "bios blanc" make good firewood. It is possible to dig a well into the coral of which the island is mainly formed, but the water so obtained is brackish, and could in all probability cause sickness.
For several years the British in Bombay had been dispatching ships to explore the Chagos Archepelago, but the SWIFT was the first to find any of the islands since The purpose of the colony is to establish a 'victualing station' and six shiploads of topsoil are imported from India in which to grow food plants. Richard Thomas Price is in charge of the colony and in command of four officers, 41 craftsmen and 69 servants. Military command is assigned to Captain John Sartorius of the Engineers, who is in charge of all land and marine surveys.
He has under his command eight officers and soldiers, mainly Sepoys Indian native infantry and Lascars Indian native artillerymen. Upon arrival of the British fleet, the staggling Frenchmen pack up a boat and sail away to report the invasion to the Governor of Mauritius, Vicomte de Souillac. As Lord Cornwallis, loser at Yorktown in was by this time the Dictator of India on behalf of the King and the British East India Company , he must have had to bite his lip every time he saw it over one of his ships or factories At any rate, the flag of the first official colonists of Diego Garcia was, in fact, an American flag!
Early May Lieutenant Archibald Blair of the East Indian Company surveys the island and produces the first reliable map of the island. He also names Eclipse future site of Downtown Diego Garcia and Observatory Points, which were previously called 'the two teats', no doubt by the staggling, sex-starved Frenchmen.
October The British experiment in growing food plants on Diego is a failure, especially considering that they have an extra mouths to feed from the ATLAS, and they pack up and sail away, having learned, as thousands of others have since, that a 6 month tour of duty on Diego is long enough. The French leave a 'stone of ownership' on the island proclaiming that it really, after all, belonged to France. Then they sail away, there being no food on the island to speak of. Basically, he wanted to try again.
As with other proposals by Dalrymple, who was eternally whining that Captain Cook instead of Dalrymple had been chosen to search for and find Australia in , his suggestions were ignored.
Except by Lord Cornwallis, now in charge of British India, and who previously had lost the American Colonies by underestimating his enemy. Oh, and by overestimating the staying power of the French Fleet read your history of Yorktown for details. Morrsom concludes that it is, but Cornwallis gets interested in other things, and the British forget about Diego Garcia for a decade or two.
The lepers ate sea turtles, primarily, since turtle meat was believed to cure the disease. They reported that the island was populated by '8 or 10' lepers. The captain of the ship refuses to allow the crewmembers back aboard, and sails away, leaving them marooned with the lepers. He also brings the first black slaves to the island. The little factory ships coconuts to Mauritius to be processed into oil, and also ships out salted fish, rope made from coconut fiber, and exports Sea Turds Sea Cucumbers to China, where they are considered a great delicacy.
She then sailed to the Seychelles and sank the French Corvette Fleche, which had just marooned some banished Frenchmen on those islands. Chepe a 'concession' to exploit the eastern part of the atoll as a coconut oil factory. He orders coconuts to be sent to Mauritius for processing. December 3, The British, during one of the 'Napoleonic Wars' capture Mauritius and its 'lesser dependencies' including Diego Garcia , thus effectively stealing the coconut oil, just as De Caen feared, just in a more dramatic way.
France was forced to return to the borders of England was granted the French colonies of Tobago, St. Lucia, and Mauritius and thus it's "lesser dependencies" including Diego Garcia.
Courtesy of Hans van Rijn, March Buyskes and following officers: Dietz, Captain Colonel in Army , commanding officer? Ver Huell, Lieutenant Captain W. Veerman, 2nd Lieutenant H. Sailed west-bound after departing from Anjer in the Sunda Strait being between the southeastern tip of the island of Sumatra and the northwestern tip of the island of Java.
After taking on lots of water and continuous pumping for two weeks, Diego Garcia is sighted. Those old Yankees never let an opportunity to turn a profit slip by! Ver Huell and Buyskes and the crew stay with Mr. Joubert, and Staatsraad 'Councillor' Mr. Doef, who is Chief of the Desima Settlement in Japan, and his wife who is pregnant and unfortunately dies during the passage on April Ver Heull and the other officers and crew stay in DG.
Three sailors had died while on DG. Helena in the South Atlantic where Napoleon is interned at the time. Sept 12 or 17 according to Ver Huell: Nov 26 or 25 according to Ver Huell: At the time, the US had 21 states, Illinois having been admitted in December, He is a Frenchman named Le Camus, and must have found the assignment very existential. Restore peace between the lepers and slaves who had been at war with each other for several years ; Act as pilot for any vessel entering Diego Garcia, except for slavers, which were to be denied access; Stop ships from dumping ballast in the main channels; Build a hospital for the lepers on Middle Island; and, Report any lawlessness by visiting ships' crews.
Le Camus actually did a pretty good job, although he never builds the hospital. Horat, arrive and produce the first completely accurate map of Diego for the Mauritius Colonial Government. They were accompanied by Mr. Werner, who writes a report giving information necessary for the navigation of ships entering the lagoon. Werner reports that the island is divided into four plantations: Cayeux's, Cayeux's brother's, and Bleved and Patee's.
Werner also points out that the island was of no further use for a leper colony, because they had eaten all the turtles. The Governor of Mauritius is shocked by this outrageous request, and refuses.
There is nothing recorded about Laportaire's response to the confiscation, but I'll bet he was P! August England abolishes slavery. Ex-slaves are 'apprenticed' to their former masters for six years before being set completely free in Thus ended the year history of slavery on Diego Garcia. According to inexact information, the black lepers were notably peaceful and why not, until the previous year they were slaves, and were still indentured, and therefore "knew their place".
On the other hand, the white lepers caused a lot of trouble on the ship. Two of the lepers from DG didn't want to be transfered, and escaped in a canoe, and apparently made it to Danger Island in the Chagos, where the transporting ship couldn't 'rescue' them because there was no anchorage.
This is apparently the first account of people not wanting the leave Diego Garcia. He plants 30 breadfruit trees. He also is the first to report that there were cats and chickens on the island. During the Years to " - there are at least three references to Diego Garcia in Chapter 1 alone. From Steve Forsberg's thesis: On September 18, , he found a bottle with a note in it on the shore.
It was signed by F. Montgomery, 4th Regiment and also mentioned Captain Twopenny of the 73rd Highlanders. They had been aboard a ship traveling from Plymouth, England to Ceylon when they threw their message in a bottle overboard, at a point more than 1, miles from Diego Garcia and two years earlier.
He also reported that things really weren't all that pleasant for the former slaves, but that crime was nearly non-existant, a condition he attributes to the impossibility of obtaining booze on the island. Perhaps this was why he left after just two days on the island. The descendants of those donkeys remain on the island to this day.