Saturday, May 17, 2014

Real Evil - The Wreck of the Batavia

The Wreck of the Batavia

In 1628, disgraced pharmacist and possible libertine heretic Jeronimus Cornelisz plotted a mutiny with skipper Ariaen Jacobsz while on a long voyage aboard the Batavia, commissioned by the Dutch East India Company on a trip to the Dutch East Indies.  The plot involved having the crew molest a high ranking female passenger, knowing that the Captain would overreact in disciplining the crew

Before their plans could be realized, the ship struck a reef off the coast of Western Australia.  The Captain Francisco Pelsaert took a small crew in the ships only boat on a perilous 33 day trip for help.

Cornelisz was placed in charge of the rest of the survivors, and soon found there was not enough food or water to sustain the over 200 survivors.  Cornelisz sorted out who he believed would support him, and who would oppose his plans.  The opposition was sent to other islands, ostensibly to look for fresh water, but in reality they were sent to their deaths.  Meanwhile, it was believed that Cornelisz intended to create his own kingdom on the islands with himself as ultimate ruler.

Cornelisz set about murdering the survivors to reduce the strain on resources.  At first they were quietly drowned, but as time went on they were killed in more blatant and brutal fashion.  Cornelisz' henchmen received better rations and privileges as a reward for the murders, and soon they racking up a huge body count.  Children were particular targets, as were pregnant women.  The rest of the females subjected to sexual slavery.  Under orders, a father strangled his own six year old child.  A priest's children were killed in front of him.

Meanwhile, the survivors that were sent to die on other islands, led by common soldier Weibbe Hays, found a supply of fresh water and lived in relative comfort and security.  The two groups eventually went to war with improvised weapons, with Cornelisz' faction ultimately losing and Cornelisz being held captive in a lime pit.

When the survivors were finally rescued, Cornelisz and his closest henchmen were tried and executed on the island.  They were hung after their hands were amputated with a hammer and chisel.

Shipwreck survivors being sorted into groups, Utopian madmen, it all reminds me of a TV series before it ran aground in its last season.  But enough about Heroes.

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