Batavia's Graveyard: The True Story of the Mad Heretic Who Led History's Bloodiest Mutiny

Batavia's Graveyard: The True Story of the Mad Heretic Who Led History's Bloodiest Mutiny

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By (author) Mike Dash

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  • Publisher: Random House Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 512 pages
  • Dimensions: 135mm x 196mm x 30mm | 363g
  • Publication date: 27 May 2003
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0609807161
  • ISBN 13: 9780609807163
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 90,951

Product description

It was the autumn of 1628, and the Batavia, the Dutch East India Company's flagship, was loaded with a king's ransom in gold, silver, and gems for her maiden voyage to Java. The Batavia was the pride of the Company's fleet, a tangible symbol of the world's richest and most powerful commercial monopoly. She set sail with great fanfare, but the Batavia and her gold would never reach Java, for the Company had also sent along a new employee, Jeronimus Corneliszoon, a bankrupt and disgraced man who possessed disarming charisma and dangerously heretical ideas.With the help of a few disgruntled sailors, Jeronimus soon sparked a mutiny that seemed certain to succeed - but for one unplanned event. In the dark morning hours of June 3, the Batavia smashed through a coral reef and ran aground on a small chain of islands near Australia. The commander of the ship and the skipper evaded the mutineers by escaping in a tiny lifeboat and setting a course for Java - some 1,800 miles north - to summon help. Nearly all of the passengers survived the wreck and found themselves trapped on a bleak coral island without water, food, or shelter. Leaderless, unarmed, and unaware of Jeronimus's treachery, they were at the mercy of the mutineers.Jeronimus took control almost immediately, preaching his own twisted version of heresy he'd learned in Holland's secret Anabaptist societies. More than 100 people died at his command in the months that followed. Before long, an all-out war erupted between the mutineers and a small group of soldiers led by Wiebbe Hayes, the one man brave enough to challenge Jeronimus's band of butchers.Unluckily for the mutineers, the Batavia's commander had raised the alarm in Java, and at the height of the violence the Company's gunboats sailed over the horizon. Jeronimus and his mutineers would meet an end almost as gruesome as that of the innocents whose blood had run on the small island they called Batavia's Graveyard.

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Author information

Mike Dash is the author of the national bestseller Tulipomania. A journalist and Cambridge-educated historian, he lives in London. "From the Hardcover edition."

Review quote

"Brilliantly crafted, deeply researched . . . a gruesome and powerfully written history. [Dash] provides a thorough look at the underlying subject of all expedition stories--the human heart." --Star-Tribune (Minneapolis) "Horrific and mesmerizing . . . No history I've read in years places you so deeply inside a piece of the past."--National Geographic Adventure "Scholarly and exhilarating. Not only history, but an enthralling sea yarn and true-crime thriller." --Associated Press "I read it in one sitting, absolutely enchanted." --St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Flap copy

In 1628 the Dutch East India Company loaded the Batavia, the flagship of its fleet, with a king's ransom in gold, silver, and gems for her maiden voyage to Java; the ship itself was a tangible symbol of the world's richest and most powerful monopoly. The company also sent along a new employee to guard its treasure. He was Jeronimus Corneliszoon, a disgraced and bankrupt man with great charisma and dangerously heretical ideas. With the help of a few disgruntled sailors, he hatched a plot to seize the ship and her riches. The mutiny might have succeeded, but in the dark morning hours of June 3, 1629, the Batavia smashed through a coral reef and ran aground on a small chain of islands near Australia. The captain and skipper escaped the wreck, and in a tiny lifeboat they set sail for Java--some 1,500 miles north--to summon help. More than 250 frightened survivors waded ashore, thankful to be alive. Unfortunately, Jeronimus and the mutineers had survived too, and the nightmare was only beginning.