In the distant 1776, eight people were saved from a deserted island located in the Indian ocean, on which they managed to survive for 15 long years. Seven of them were women, while the eighth person was a boy born there. Now, 240 years later, archeologists have discovered the shameful history of their exceptional temptation.
A team from France had spent a month on the Tromelin island exploring the remains of a shipwreck, while the expedition had been sponsored by UNESCO.
The mission goal was to uncover an almost forgotten story of cruelty. They managed to achieve that, but they became aware of the human persistence, the determination to survive and the ability to organize despite difficulties as well.
The story brings us back in the distant 1761 when the French ship had sunk near the Tremelin island, east of Madagascar. Slaves were the cargo of the ship. 20 sailors had drowned, as well as more than seventy slaves.
The group of 60 people that had survived reached Tromelin, which is a real wasteland.
After the remaining sailors had spent six months on the island, they had built a raft and had escaped from the island.
The slaves were left on the island for one reason only – because they were slaves. The nearest land had been 450 km from them.
The sailors had promised the slaves that they would return, but they never fulfilled that promise.
Besides that they had been deserted, the slaves never gave up. During the 15 years, they had spent on the island, they never gave up signaling with smoke, hoping that someone would notice them. They had used the wood that remained from the shipwreck, and they had built houses using corals and sand. They had eaten that which they were able to catch: turtles, birds, and shells.
Thanks to the archeological expedition, now we know more about the survivors.
“Those people had not been defeated by their own destiny. They worked together in an ancient way. We found proof about the things they ate and the way they lived. This is a story about ingenuity and the abandoned people’s instinct of survival due to the reason that the other human beings considered them inferior”, said Max Guérout, the expedition leader.
According to the findings, the French people that managed to escape tried to fulfill the promise that they had given. Unfortunately, the island on which they had arrived had been under the patronage of France, and the governor didn’t want to send a rescue mission.
How did they save themselves?
Due to a series of events, in 1776 one French sailor got stranded on their island, after which he had tried to save them on his own. They somehow succeeded to enable his ship, and one group managed to reach Mauritius.
The remaining outcasts were saved by captain Tromelin, whose name the island carries ever since.
Today, both Madagascar and Mauritius have a claim on the island, and it didn’t even exist in 1776.