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The wreck of Batavia and its dark secrets – part two

View part one of this story here.

One officer that remained was Cornelisz, who had only left the Batavia once it eventually sank nine days after striking Morning Reef. When he departed the ship and left for Beacon Island, he would arrive to find 180 marooned survivors without any leadership. More importantly, he found that both Pelsaert and Jacobsz had left, meaning the plans for mutiny had been revealed. Terrified that any kind of rescue mission from the commandeur would result in his punishment, Cornelisz instantly took over the group and plotted to attack any rescue ship that came. 

During the time that Cornelisz was aboard the sinking Batavia, the shipwrecked passengers had made makeshift rafts and gathered supplies that had washed ashore from the cargo. They even formed a council, which Cornelisz took control over when he found them on Beacon Island. On top of this, Cornelisz replaced all the council members with his own men and former accomplices from the proposed mutiny. He seized all the makeshift rafts, food and water rations, and weapons from the passengers, and split the group up onto different islands. With the intention of removing any threat to his power, Cornelisz banished the loyal mercenaries, and later had 22 soldiers transported to another island under the command of Weibbe Hayes. The group of soldiers, including Hayes, believed they were being sent on a mission to find food and water – instead, they were stripped of their weapons and abandoned by Cornelisz and his men.

Things went from bad to worse, and Cornelisz then ordered his men to murder the passengers on nearby islands. Once they had been killed, he turned his attention to those still with him on Beacon Island – slitting the throats of the strongest men in their sleep, and even drowning the sick. Some were murdered completely at random, while others were forced to murder their closest friends in order to stay alive. The men raped whoever they liked, and Cornelisz even chose one of the wealthy women aboard as his personal concubine.

Fortunately, some of the passengers were able to escape and fled towards West Wallabi, the island where Hayes and the soldiers were marooned. After the escaped passengers warned Hayes of what was happening on Beacon Island, he began to craft weapons from coral blocks and shipwreck materials that had washed ashore. Unknown to Cornelisz, Hayes and his men had found fresh water and wallabies on the island, and were able to stay alive. 

That August, Cornelisz attempted to attack West Wallabi twice – fearful that Hayes could warn any rescue ships from Pelsaert. Both attempts saw Hayes and his men hold off Cornelisz, and when he tried to storm the island a third time, he was captured. 

To be continued in part three…

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