The Black Hole of Calcutta - the last refuge of English captives

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The Black Hole of Calcutta - the last refuge of English captives The Black Hole of Calcutta is the name of the prison that was situated in Fort Williams, in colonial India. Here allegedly died a lot of British prisoners of war. This story happened on the night of 20 June 1756. One of the lucky survivors of this incident, John Holwell, was answerable for the official version, but there are little reasons that support for his story. Contemporary historians suppose he may have overstated or even fabricated the story as propaganda against the Indians.

Fort William was constructed in 1706 by the British East India Company. In 1756, the British began to set up the military defenses around the fort as a caution against French military forces. The Nawab of Bengal and hereditary indigenous governor, Siraj Ud Daulah, commanded the British East India Company to stop their military rising of the fort, but his order was slighted. In response, forces of Siraj Ud Dualah laid besiege to the Fort William.

Almost four days of battling succeeded. Ultimately, Indian forces gained the fort and prisoned the remaining Englishmen, leaded by John Holwell. Initially, the English prisoners were treated good, but after they attacked some Nawab's guardians, they were jailed in a most guarded room and locked up overnight. Exactly this room today will take the infamous name of Black Hole of Calcutta. Opinions differ on whether the Nawab guardians himself or himself initiated this imprisonment.

Black Hole of Calcutta was a very small room - 4.3 x 5.5 m (14x18 feet) and had only two tiny barred windows. That night was heat and there was absolutely no water in the room, although the guards provided them some water when the prisoners appealed for it. According to Holwell, some captives were already dead by 9:00 evening and the room didn`t open until 6:00 a.m. Out of 146 prisoners closed in the Black Hole of Calcutta, solely 23 survived. This case demonstrates the unbelievable heroism of English soldiers, which struggled till dead for their great country.

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