Sir Francis Drake ‘first set foot on US soil in San Francisco Bay area’ US government lays 433-year historical controversy to rest by designating Point Reyes peninsula as Drake’s landing point
OK, he was NOT surfing the water, rather he was exploring the world. Is there really any difference? The US government has apparently ended a 433-year-old historical controversy by determining that Sir Francis Drake came ashore in what is now a county in the San Francisco Bay area when he claimed California for England.
For years, some historians and scholars said Drake had landed on the Point Reyes peninsula, in Marin County, north of San Francisco. But others pointed to what they considered evidence that Drake had landed in locations ranging from San Francisco Bay to Alaska.
The US interior secretary, Ken Salazar, has now designated Point Reyes as the point where Drake came ashore, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Saturday.
There was never any dispute that Drake had sailed his ship, the Golden Hind, north along the Pacific coast of the US. When he came ashore on 17 June 1579 to repair his ship, his crew nailed a plate of brass to a tree claiming the land for Queen Elizabeth I.
The descriptions of the harbour where Drake landed, however, were vague and sparked debates among historians. Some claimed he landed as far north as Alaska, while others suggested Oregon, British Columbia or other sites along the California coast.
The Drake Navigators Guild, a California historians’ organisation, said it had more than 50 detailed clues about Drake’s landing, including 16th-century reports, identifying Drakes Cove, an inlet near Drakes Bay on the Point Reyes peninsula.
Source: Associated Press Published: Sunday, 21 October 2012
The great seafarer has been credited with discovering the state during one of his epic sea voyages.
If California had become an English colony it would have become the jewel of the British Empire, a dominion awash with gold and other natural riches.
Drake’s claim to California has long been suspected, but exactly where he landed along America’s Pacific coastline has never been accurately pinpointed.
Historians have argued for centuries over the exact spot that the man, who went on to defeat the Spanish Armada, landed on June 17, 1579, and is said to have ordered his crew to nail a brass plate to a tree, claiming the land for England.
Descriptions of the natural harbour where his ship laid anchor were so vague that some academics claim he landed as far north as what is now Alaska, while others argued that the area he described was as far south as San Diego. Twenty nine other points along America’s Pacific coastline and even Canada’s British Columbia have been suggested over the years by historians as his first point of entry into the New World.
The Point Reyes claim simply had more evidence than any other possible site
John Dell’Osso, chief of interpretation at Point Reyes National Seashore
A five-year study by experts from the California-based Drake Navigators Guild has concluded that Drake landed on the Point Reyes Peninsula, north of the city of San Francisco.
The Guild’s report to the US government cited more than 50 historical facts to support its findings, including detailed 16th century reports that tally with the topography of the area.
John Dell’Osso, chief of interpretation at Point Reyes National Seashore and an avid Drake historian, said: “The Point Reyes claim simply had more evidence than any other possible site.”
The new official Drake landing site has now been named by the US government as one of 27 sites that are national historic landmarks, but no one will have to conjure up a new name for it.
Mr Dell’Osso said: “Those convinced in the past of his landing site had already named Drake’s Cove, an inlet near the larger Drake’s Bay as the unofficial precise landing site in Point Reyes. That’s very fortunate, because it’s now official.”
For all of Drake’s endeavour, it was Spain that was to exert the major influence.
Almost 30 years after Drake made landfall, Sebastian Vizcaino explored and mapped the coast of California in 1602 and was followed by Spanish missionaries who founded the state’s great cities, San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Source: Daily,Express UK , Oct 28, 2012
Women’s World Cup 2019 team guide: United States
The USWNT have a daring attack-first style, and though defence may be a anxiety, they’re still among the favourites.
Coach Ellis finally decided on a 4-3-3 formation constructed around a number of mainstays: goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher (who held off Ashlyn Harris for the starting job), the central defence pairing of Abby Dahlkemper and Becky Sauerbrunn, Lindsey Horan and Julie Ertz in the midfield and Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan up front. The result? A 28-game unbeaten run that ended only in January.
A thrilling attack-first style organized by Rapinoe, Morgan, Tobin Heath, Mallory Pugh, Christen Press and old warhorse Carli Lloyd suggests the Americans will have no problem scoring goals in France. Whether they can keep their opponents from returning the favour often enough is the far more pressing issue. They opened the calendar year with a patchy record of two wins, two draws and one loss, including back-to-back games with multiple goals conceded for the first time since 2011. Naeher, always somewhat unpredictable for her country, has been done no favours by a back line thin on depth and experience: starting right-back Kelley O’Hara has been troubled by injury and left-back Crystal Dunn is playing out of her natural forward position.
Having noted the above reservations, Ellis’s squad still enters the tournament as favourites on merit, but matching the 540 minutes without conceding a goal they managed in the 2015 World Cup feels highly unlikely.
USWNT ON KRNN, 6/15: The U.S. Women’s National Team competes this month in France for the Soccer World Cup. You are invited to cheer for the team on the radio pitch as we play blues and avoid penalties on WTBA, 6/15 at 5 pm.
USA Roster for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup
Goalkeepers: Adrianna Franch, Ashlyn Harris, Alyssa Naeher
Defenders: Abby Dahlkemper, Tierna Davidson, Crystal Dunn, Ali Krieger, Kelley O’Hara, Becky Sauerbrunn, Emily Sonnett
Midfielders: Morgan Brian, Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Allie Long, Samantha Mewis
Forwards: Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, Jessica McDonald, Alex Morgan, Christen Press, Mallory Pugh, Megan Rapinoe
In the end Jill Ellis’s roster for France drew overwhelmingly from the core group that emerged during the team’s unbeaten 2018. The Portsmouth-born coach has taken a bit of criticism in the final runup to France for tinkering with formations and trying players in new roles when consistency should be the focus, but this is an experienced team – more than half of the 2015 squad is back for the title defence – that should be ready for what is afoot when the games start in earnest. The main tactical question is whether the US will be able to break down lesser teams with the ability to counter: they struggled to crack the code for a long stretch in the friendly win over South Africa, same as against Sweden in the Rio Olympics.
The premier players are numerous. No fewer than a half-dozen of the forwards in Ellis’s squad would play a feature role for any team in the tournament, including Morgan, Heath and Pugh. But 33-year-old Megan Rapinoe, whose imaginative energy at the Rio Olympics was stunted as she recovered from a third ACL injury, remains the straw that stirs the drink for the United States up top.
A brief history of women’s football in the United States
The 1972 passage of the federal legislation known as Title IX – the law that makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sex in any federally funded activity – created opportunities for girls and women to play sports that gave the United States a head start on the international scene.
The US women’s national team didn’t play their first game until 1985 – a 1-0 defeat to Italy in the Mundialito tournament after coming together with less than a week’s notice – but a Michelle Akers and Carin Jennings-inspired squad captured their first World Cup in 1991. The second in 1999 – famously capped by Brandi Chastain’s shootout-clinching penalty against China in front of more than 90,000 fans at the Rose Bowl – was an epochal moment in American sports, driving youth participation in girls’ soccer to untold heights and inspiring a new generation of athletes that have endowed the United States with one of the world’s deepest talent pools.
The results speak for themselves: the United States have won three World Cups and never finished worse than third in the tournament, adding four Olympic gold medals along the way.
What is the realistic aim for the United States in France and why?
Given the powerfulness, depth and skill of the United States make them no worse than joint favourites with the hosts, anything short of a fourth World Cup would be a disappointment. A confrontation with Les Bleues will take place in the quarter-finals – at Parc des Princes in Paris on 28 June – if both sides win their groups as expected.
Bryan Armen Graham writes for the Guardian US
Bryan Armen Graham Published: Guardian US Thursday, 06 June 2019
On 10 June 1942, following the assassination of a high-ranking Nazi official in what is now the Czech Republic, Adolf Hitler ordered immediate reprisals against the local population. Nazi troops immediately moved into the village of Lidice and rounded up all 173 of the men who were over 16 years of age. By the afternoon, all of them had been executed.
The 203 women were rounded up and, after the forced abortion of four pregnant women, were transported to various concentration camps. 105 children were taken and separated from their mothers. On 2 July, 82 of these children were taken to an extermination camp and murdered.
The village of Lidice was set on fire and the remains destroyed so as that no evidence of Lidice having ever existed could be found, with the entire attack filmed by the SS. In all, only 170 of Lidice’s population of around 510 survived the war, with only 17 of them children. Similar reprisals were carried out across a large area of Czechoslovakia, and it is estimated that in total around 1,300 people were killed in total – unlike other Nazi massacres, there was no attempt to hide that this had taken place.
Almost as soon as this news reached Britain, Barnet Stross, a doctor and City Councillor in Stoke-on-Trent, set to work on founding the ‘Lidice Shall Live’ movement, the name created by Stross in response to Adolf Hitler’s order that ‘Lidice Shall Die Forever’
Stross invited the Czech president, Soviet ambassador and President of the Miners’ Federation to a launch event, which was attended by 3,000 people. In the months ahead, donations were collected from miners and workers to rebuild Lidice.
In Stross’s words: “The miner’s lamp dispels the shadows on the coal face. It can also send a ray of light across the sea to those who struggle in darkness”.
When the decision was taken by the Czechoslovak government to rebuild Lidice, the equivalent of £1m in today’s money was provided by the ‘Lidice Shall Live’ movement.
Not only is it important that we understand the consequences of hatred and prejudice, but also the good that can be done by those who are unwilling to sit by and allow it to take place.
As time goes by and we lose first-hand accounts of Nazi atrocities, events such as Holocaust Memorial Day become even more important. At times, however, it can feel that the sheer scale of the slaughter in the Second World War can be too horrifying to comprehend and that as a result individual stories are lost.
Lidice provides a glimmer of light among one of the darkest periods of human history, with the generosity of the British people and the defiance of the residents of the village ensuring that Lidice, indeed, did live.’
(Reference: BBC and Radio Prague websites)
[photos: Czech Republic Culture Dept. and JWSivertsenJr]
LIDICE SHALL LIVE ON KRNN, 6/10: People in Stoke-on-Trent, England raised funds to reconstruct the village of Lidice near Prague after it was destroyed and its citizens executed on 10 June 1942. We pay tribute the “Lidice Shall Live” campaign and its act of hope and tenacity on Crosscurrents, 6/10 at 8 am.
The group sit is the last exercise at the dog obedience trial. They hate “all lined up. ” Judy Dykstra-Brown at Life Lessons Blog is running a photo challenge from May 27 to June 6 on the topic of ‘all lined up’. Here is my contribution taken at the recent event from the Capital Kennel Club Of Juneau.
For more than fifty years, he has been writing novels—thirty in all, the plots ranging from Old West adventures to small-town comedies to contemporary domestic dramas. Born on the 3rd of June 1936, Larry McMurtry has co-written two other novels and published fourteen books of nonfiction—short memoirs, collections of essays, a travel book, and even biographies of such frontier figures as Crazy Horse—as well as reams of book reviews and essays. He has written or co-written more than forty teleplays and screenplays. As if that were not enough, he has also found time to carry on a fulfilling side profession as a “bookman,” as he likes to call himself, wandering around the country to hunt for rare books and overseeing a huge antiquarian bookstore that he opened in Archer City in the eighties.
Based on his extensive reading of western history, as well as on the stories he had heard his relatives tell on the front porch, McMurtry saw the Old West not as a romantic frontier but as a shatteringly lonely and often barbaric place, where few people found any happiness at all. Now McMurtry set out to prove this, opening his novel with two retired, hard-bitten Texas Rangers in the forlorn border town of Lonesome Dove.
The ex-Rangers, Augustus “Gus” McCrae and Woodrow Call, lead a cattle drive to Montana with a ragtag team of cowpokes, which includes a black cowboy, a bandit turned cook, a piano player with a hole in his stomach, a young widow, a teenager who is Call’s unacknowledged son, and a prostitute. On their journey, the group encounters psychopathic outlaws, vengeful Indians, buffalo hunters, gamblers, scouts, cavalry officers, and backwoodsmen. They endure perilous river crossings, thunderstorms, sandstorms, hailstorms, windstorms, lightning storms, grasshopper storms, stampedes, drought, and a mean bear. There are plenty of shootings and a few impromptu hangings. The prostitute, Lorena, is gang-raped. In the end, after McCrae is mortally wounded by Indians, he asks Call to bury him in a little peach orchard by the Guadalupe River near San Antonio, where he was once in love with a woman. Call dutifully transports his partner’s half-mummified body back to Texas.
McMurtry has said he was offered “maybe a ten-thousand-dollar advance” for Lonesome Dove, because his editor was not sure readers would want to buy a western the size of War and Peace.(McMurtry accepted the advance because he wasn’t sure people would want to buy it either.) But when Lonesome Dove was released, in 1985, it grabbed hold of the public’s imagination like no western of its time, selling nearly 300,000 copies in hardcover and more than a million copies in paperback.
Readers raved over McMurtry’s precisely drawn characters, his depictions of place, his ear for frontier idioms, and his action-packed set pieces. They learned lines of dialogue (“The older the violin, the sweeter the music”; “Ride with an outlaw, die with him”; Call’s unforgettable declaration after beating a surly Army scout to a pulp in front of shocked onlookers: “I hate rude behavior in a man. I won’t tolerate it”). And they rejoiced in the details, whether about food eaten on the cattle drive (beans laced with chopped rattlesnake) or, say, medical treatment (a cowboy bitten by an angry horse is given axle grease and turpentine for his wound). For Texans, went one joke, Lonesome Dove had become the third-most-important book in publishing history, right behind the Bible and the Warren Commission report.
The book was given the Pulitzer the following year, and when it was inevitably adapted for the screen—CBS aired a four-part miniseries based on the novel in 1989, starring Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall—a staggering 26 million viewers tuned in. Together, the novel and miniseries were arguably more influential in shaping Americans’ vision of the Old West.
TRIVIA AND FACTS
Lonesome Dove was originally a much shorter screenplay. It was written 15 years earlier by Larry McMurtry and Peter Bogdonavich. It was called ‘Streets of Laredo’ and was supposed to star John Wayne as Call, Jimmy Stewart as Gus, and Henry Fonda as Jake Spoon. Wayne dropped out, and that ended the project.
Streets of Laredo sat on the shelf for about 15 yearsuntil one day, McMurtry found an old bus that had “Lonesome Dove Baptist Church” inscribed on the side. He went home and finished the story as a novel, which was inspired by the lives of Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving. The novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1986.
3. The movie rights to the novel were bought by Motown, which made everyone stop and say “What’s going on?” Seems an odd fit, but not so. Suzanne de Passe, of Motown, along with Bill Wittliff, produced a masterpiece.
Robert Duvall turned down the role of Woodrow Callso he could play Gus.
Duvall said as they were making the film, he knew it would be a classic. He told his fellow actors, “We’re making the “Godfather of Westerns.”
Charles Bronson was supposed to play Blue Duck,but had to back out due to contractual obligations.
Lonesome Dove did not win the Emmy for Best Miniseries in 1989. That honor went to ‘War and Remembrance,’ which no one remembers. However, wrongs were righted at the Golden Globes where Lonesome Dove won best Miniseries and Duval, won Best Actor.
Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall were made honorary Texas Rangers for their heroic depictions of W.F. Call and Gus McCrae.
9 Gus’s body, the mannequin Call brought back from Montana to bury in Texas, is available for viewing at Texas State University, which owns the Lonesome Dove collection. The curator Steve Davis, told me that some people weep when they see Gus’s body. You can also see Gus’s hat, and the blacksmith’s poker that Call used to viciously beat the army scout to within an inch of his life.
Larry McMurtry wrote Lonesome Dove to help people get over their romantic notions about cowboy life and cattle drives. He wanted to show the brutal hardships and difficult times cowboys faced on the frontier. In this he failed. There’s hardly a man or woman in Texas who wouldn’t trade in their suit and office job to get on a horse and drive cattle to Montana with Woodrow and Gus.
Lonesome Dove has sold more DVD’sthan any Western in Cinema History.
There is a longer version of Lonesome Dove– about thirty minutes longer, but we can’t see it. It is locked away somewhere and there are no plans ever to release it.
SOME FAVORITE QUOTES:
No 12. Woodrow has just buried Gus and puts up the grave marker made of the famous Hat Creek Cattle Company sign. Woodrow says: “I guess this’ll teach me to be careful about what I promise in the future.”
No 11. When the boys seem a little shocked by Gus’, shall we say, manly appetites, he says: “What’s good for me may not be good for the weak minded.”
No 10. Right after Gus has cut the cards with Lorie and she accuses him of cheating. He says, “I won’t say I did and I won’t say I didn’t, but I will say that a man who wouldn’t cheat for a poke don’t want one bad enough.”
No 9. Not long before Gus goes guns blazing into Blue Duck’s camp to save Lorie, he says, “They don’t know it, but the wrath of the Lord is about to descend on ‘em.”
No 8. Gus finds July Johnson burying his son, and Jenny and Rosco. July is naturally distraught, blaming himself, saying he should have stayed with them. Gus says: “Yesterday’s gone, we can’t get it back.” But he does assure him that if he ever runs into Blue Duck again, he will kill him for him.
No 7. Gus gets exasperated with Woodrow because Woodrow, to Gus’s way of thinking, is being dense. Gus says: “Woodrow, you just don’t ever get the point – ‘It’s not dyin’ I’m talkin’ about, it’s livin’.”
No 6. This quote punctuates the scene when Jake Spoon must be hanged along with the murdering horse thieves he has thrown in with. Jake pleads his case but Gus has little sympathy. He says, “You know how it works, Jake. You ride with the outlaw, you die with the outlaw. Sorry, you crossed the line.”
No 5. The San Antonio bar scene has several great lines together, so I decided to count them as one quote.
The bartender, upon insulting Gus and Call, gets his nose broken when Gus slams his face into the oak bar. Gus explains: “Besides a whiskey, I think we will require a little respect. . . . If you care to turn around, you will see what we looked like when we was younger and the people around her wanted to make us senators. What we didn’t put up with back then was doddlin’ service, and as you can see, we still don’t put up with it.”
As they rode away, Woodrow tells Gus he’s lucky he didn’t get thrown in jail and Gus says, “Ain’t much of a crime, whackin’ a surly bartender.”
No 4. A touching line, uttered by Gus as he lay dying. He says to Woodrow: “It’s been quite a party ain’t it?”
No 3. This one is a tie – so close I couldn’t separate them.
The first comes at the first of the movie, back at Lonesome Dove when Bol infers that Gus may be too old for romance anymore and Gus sets him straight. He says, “The older the violin, the sweeter the music.”
Following soon after that scene comes Call’s advice to Newt. Call hands him his first pistol and says,”Better to have that and not need it than need it and not have it.”
No 2. Gus lays out a prescription for Lorie’s future happiness. She is obsessed with going to San Francisco, and he wants her to understand that that dream is likely a misguided one.
“You see, life in San Francisco is still just life. If you want any one thing too badly, it’s likely to turn out to be a disappointment. The only healthy way to live life is to learn to like all the little everyday things – like a sip of good whiskey in the evening, a soft bed, a glass of buttermilk, or a feisty gentleman like myself.”
No 1. I began with Call and we end with him. Though Gus gets a great number of the best lines, Woodrow gets, without question, the most powerful, most quoted line of all.
After Call beat an army scout to a pulp, the horrified townspeople – who have never witnessed such violence before – are standing around in shock and seem to require an explanation. Call obliges them. He says, “I hate rude behavior in a man. I won’t tolerate it.
LARRY McMURTRY ON KRNN, 6/3: An American novelist whose work is frequently set in the Old West or contemporary Texas, Larry McMurtry was born on this date in 1936. We hope you’all can tune in for Lone Star country tunes for the McMurtry birthday on Crosscurrents, 6/3 at 8 am.
On May 27, 1937, San Francisco‘s Golden Gate Bridge was made available to the community for the first time for “Pedestrian Day.” It was the beginning of the week-long “Golden Gate Bridge Fiesta” to celebrate its accomplishment. In excess of 200,000 people forked over twenty-five cents per person to walk across the bridge. The next day at noon President Franklin Roosevelt, from his office at the White House, activated a telegraph key and the Golden Gate Bridge was officially opened for vehicular use.
The Golden Gate opening celebration started at 6 am with Pedestrian Day – the entire roadway was opened exclusively to pedestrians from dawn to dusk. By 6 am, it is estimated that 18,000 people were waiting to cross! An estimated 15,000 an hour passed the turnstiles in a steady stream each paying 25 cents to cross. Scores of hot dog stands lined the roadway with estimates of up to 50,000 sold.
The notion of bridging the mile-wide Golden Gate channel was proposed as early as the 1870. It was not until the San Francisco Call and Post began an editorial campaign in 1916 that the idea got popular backing. Rocky coastline and stormy weather conditions made the task seem impossible. After construction studies, however, in 1923 the California legislature passed the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District Act. The Bridge District itself was formed six years later. Voters approved a $35 million construction bond in November 1930 notwithstanding the stock market crash of 1929.
The idea to span the Golden Gate, the mile-wide strait connecting the San Francisco Bay with the Pacific Ocean, may have seemed crazy to many people. In fact, the idea of such a bridge was originally proposed by a madman. Joshua Norton – a San Francisco merchant who went bankrupt and developed a severe mental disability, declared himself Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico and decreed the building of the bridge in 1869.
A proposed design for a bridge published in 1916 by the San Francisco Call caught the eye of the city’s chief engineer, Michael O’Shaughnessy. It was then that serious plans began to be developed. The original cost estimate came in at an astounding $100 million (nearly $2 billion in today’s money). This cost estimate might have ended the discussion again if not for the appearance of Joseph B. Strauss. He was a structural engineer who had 400 bridges to his credit. He could complete the project for around $30 million. The Strauss design was less than beautiful and met with some resistance. Opponents said that the Strauss bridge design would take away from the natural grandeur of the bay.
By late 1929, the Golden Gate Bridge District was formed, and Strauss’ original prosaic cantilever-suspension hybrid design had been exchanged by an all-suspension bridge. Irving Morrow, a local architect, is the man responsible for the Golden Gate Bridge’s elegant art deco design, as well as choosing its distinguishing color: international orange (which contrasts with the surrounding sea, sky and land irrespective of weather or season). The structural calculations provided by consulting engineers Charles Ellis and Leon Moisseiff persuaded Strauss to abandon his own design in favor of Morrow’s. We can all be glad that the Morrow, not the Strauss, design was adopted.
GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE ON KRNN, 5/27 at 8am: Connecting the City of San Francisco to the Marin Headlands, the Golden Gate Bridge opened to the public on this date in 1937. A playlist of SFO bands will accompany us as we commemorate this landmark on Crosscurrents, 5/27 at 8 am.
How many do you remember from the SFO music scene of the 1960’s????
Our playlist to include the bands: The Charlatans;The Warlocks; Sons Of Champlain; Steve Mlller Band; The Frontline; Flamin’ Groovies; Grateful Dead; New Riders; Hot Tuna; Boz Scaggs; The Chocolat Watchband; Sopwith Camel; The Youngbloods; Sly Stone; Count Five; Jefferson Airplane; Mother Earth; We Five; Country Joe; Moby Grape; Janis Joplin; Quicksilver Messenger; and….Jesse Fuller.
The Austrian Empress Maria Theresa selected Anton Janša to the job of permanent instructor of apiculture at the new School of Beekeeping in Vienna. He was renowned even before his death in 1773. After 1775, national beekeeping tutors had to impart the topic in harmony with his traditions and approaches.
The Janša family was not wealthy, but three Janša brothers constructed an art studio in a barn, got noted by the village priest, and were sent to Vienna, the capital of the Hapsburg Empire, which ruled Slovenia in this age. One of the brothers became an arts professor. Another became a beekeeper. The royal beekeeper.
The potential for bad jokes are endless, such as “to BEE or not to BEE,” or “That will BEE the day,” or finallly “BEE my guest.” OK, I realize that I should stop and just BUZZ off.
WORLD BEE DAY ON KRNN, 5/20 at 8am: The U.N. signifies World Bee Day to coincide with the birthday of Slovenian beekeeper, the pioneer of modern apiculture, Anton Janša born in 1734. We hope you will “bee” able to “buzz” by to Crosscurrents, 5/20 at 8 am.
The late 18th century was a time of social and political change. France was recovering from revolution. America had likewise just gone through a revolution to achieve independence.
In Britain the industrial revolution had pushed thousands of poverty-stricken people from the country villages to the crowded cities. Crime in the cities grew as people could not find work having been displaced by industry. The jails were over flowing as the Crown dealt with the under class of criminals. In 1787 the government needed a new way to the problem of the burgeoning prison population.
The initial idea had been to transfer the British jail population to the Crowns colonies in America. However, in 1783 the Crown lost the American option due to the Americans winning their war for independence. The British looked around their empire for other locations to house their jail population.
The explorers from Captain Cook’s discovery expedition 18 years earlier came upon the idea of Botany Bay, Australia. Their idea was to use the land down under as a giant repository for convicts. It wasn’t the ideal choice because the place had only been glimpsed once and the 15,000 mile voyage would take more than 8 months. Of course, the jails in Britain were full to capacity.
Between 1788 and 1868 165,000 British and Irish convicts made the perilous voyage to a strange land now referred to as Australia. The majority of the 165,000 convicts sent to Australia were impoverished and illiterate. The under class were victims of the Poor Laws and social conditions in Georgian England. Eight out of ten prisoners were convicted for larceny. Many did not consider themselves to be criminals. They were trying to survive in an industrialized Britain.
Apart from unskilled and semi-skilled labourers from Britain and Ireland, transportees came from varied ethnic backgrounds: American, Corsican, French, Hong Kong, Chinese, West Indian, Indian, and African.
There were political prisoners and prisoners of war, as well as a motley collection of professionals such as lawyers, surgeons and teachers.
The average age of a deportees was 26, and their group included children who were either convicted of crimes or were making the journey with their mothers. Just one in six was a woman. Depending on the offence, for the first 40 years of transportation convicts were sentenced to terms of seven years, 10 years, or life.
Most of the convicts stayed in their new home of Australia. They were free to return home after they served their jail term in Australia. However, a return voyage was not likely for many. After all, how were they going to afford the trip back to this original home in Britain? Aside fro the expense of going back to Britain, many of the transporters had begun to see Australia as their true home.
FIRST FLEET ON KRNN, 5/13 at 8am: Sailors and convicts set sail from Portsmouth, England, to found the first European colony in Australia, Botany Bay with the “First Fleet”, on this date in 1787. We hope you join us aboard the boat headed for an all Aussie playlist on Crosscurrents, 5/13 at 8 am.