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Today in History – 22 May 1840


Australia – New South Wales: Transportation of Convicts to New South Wales Ended

On this day in 1840, the transportation of convicts to the colony of New South Wales in Australia ended. Transportation of convicts to New South Wales began with the departure of the first convicts from England on the 13th May 1787, with the first convicts arriving at Botany Bay on the 20th January 1788. Transportation of convicts continued in to other areas of Australia until the last ship arrived in Western Australia on the 10th January 1868.

 

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Today in History – 29 April 1672


Louis XIV: Franco-Dutch War – France Invades the Netherlands

The Franco-Dutch War was more than a war between France and the Netherlands, then known as the United Provinces. It involved a host of other nations including Sweden, Spain, England and other less known regions/countries. The war lasted from 1672 to 1678 and ended with the Treaty of Nijmegen.

This day in 1672 saw the beginning of the war with the French invasion of the United Provinces and they quickly made progress into the country. However, as the war continued it quickly became a stalemate-type situation, though the French did gain territory from the Treaty of Nijmegen.

For a more detailed treatment of the war, see the Wikipedia page at:
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco-Dutch_War

 


Today in History – 28 April 1789


William Bligh: Mutiny on the Bounty

William Bligh was born on the 9th September 1754 to Francis and Jane Bligh in St Tudy, Cornwall. He was signed up for a career in the Royal Navy when aged 7 in 1761.

In 1776, Bligh was with Captain James Cook as Sailing Master on the Resolution for Cook’s third and final voyage during which Cook was killed. Following this Bligh served on various ships and saw military action at a number of locations including Gibraltar in 1782.

In 1787 Bligh was made commander of the Bounty. On this day in 1789, the mutiny on the Bounty took place. The mutiny was led by Fletcher Christian, Master’s Mate. Bligh and a large number of the crew were provided with a ship’s launch and a small amount of provisions and Bligh made for Timor (from near Tonga). The journey was completed in 47 days and covered a remarkable distance of 6 700km.

It is thought that the mutiny took place in order to escape from the hardline discipline of Bligh and to escape to the island pleasures of Tahiti. Evidence would suggest that Bligh was far more easy going than other captains, though the future ‘mutiny’ in Sydney (see below) would suggest otherwise. Bligh was treated well in the court-martial and was acquitted.

From the Bounty, Bligh served in various roles, including Governor of New South Wales from the 13th August 1806 to the 26th January 1808. His post ended with the Rum Rebellion, which essentially was an on land mutiny by the New South Wales Corps under Major George Johnston. He succeeded Philip Gidley King and was replaced by Lachlan Macquarie.

Bligh’s rise through the ranks of the Royal Navy continued until he was appointed Vice Admiral of the Blue in 1814, though he never again received an active command. He died on the 7th December 1817.

As an interesting side point, the current premier of Queensland (Anna Bligh) is a descendant of William Bligh.

 


Today in History – 21 April 1509


King Henry VIII: Begins His Reign in England

Henry VIII was born Henry Tudor, to Henry VII (King of England) and Elizabeth of York on the 28th June 1491. His reign began on this day in 1509 and continued until his death on the 28th January 1547. He succeeded his father, Henry VII as King of England, Lord of Ireland and claimant to the throne of France. his reign lasted over 37 years and was perhaps one of the greatest (certainly one of the most powerful) kings in English history – not that this necessarily made him a great man.

Henry VIII is well known for his six wives and what became of them. He is also known for the part he played in the English Reformation. His split with the Roman Catholic Church saw the advance of Protestantism and the Reformation in England, though he remained theologically ‘Roman Catholic.’

For more on Henry VIII and the Tudor Dynasty, visit:
http://www.tudorhistory.org/

 


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