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Africa during the Scramble: Exile to Paradise

Alex Richards

A musical Hubble Space Telescope
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
I feel like the best 'twist' opening for this sort of setting would be something which makes it seem like we're talking about a sort of Indian Ocean Monaco- wealthy nobles hob-nobbing with British officials, scholars etc. and only really drop towards the end of the first chapter that this is, actually, a prison.

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
When the Sultan of Zanzibar agreed to ban the export of slaves, any slaves found in Arabian dhows stopped by the British on their anti slavery patrols would be taken to Mahé. Later, upon the British establishing their complete control over Zanzibar, they were joined by exiled Omani slavers including the Sultan of Zanzibar himself, in what must have been an awkward meeting.
The highest -profile literary appearance of the Andamans that I know of (and the first time that I had heard of them) is in the Sherlock Holmes story 'The Sign of Four'. The victim in the 'mystery of locked room murder' investigation is the son and heir of the late head of the Victorian era British penal colony on the Andamans, Major? Sholto. He had built a large mansion in S London (at Norwood) out of the proceeds of his time in India and is supposed to have acquired a treasure there and hidden it around his house, and his son was looking for it there - so was he murdered by treasure-hunters or an old enemy of his father's from his time in the Andamans? The mystery hinges on the reappearance of a sinister sailor with a wooden leg who Major Sholto saw spying on his house just before he died, who he seemed to recognise as an old foe, and who is suspected of searching the place later, presumably for the treasure. Did the sailor kill the younger Sholto for the treasure and take the latter and who is he?
The sailor (Spoiler Alert) turns out to be an ex-convict at the penal colony, who bribed Major? Sholto with info on where he and some Indian colleagues (the 'Four') had hidden a treasure they had stolen at the time of the Mutiny in 1857. In return for a share of the treasure Sholto was to help the convict and his friends escape - but once he had the location he left them to rot and went off to loot the treasure. The convict then escaped and went after him, years later - aided by a stereotype 'savage native' Andaman Islander, portrayed as a feral under-sized hunter with a deadly blowpipe. The latter then killed the younger Sholto as his sailor boss was retrieving the treasure. A typical blood-curdling Victorian thriller about the 'wilder ' reaches of the Empire, a bit like Wilkie Collins' 'The Moonstone' with homicidal Asians after a treasure stolen by colonial Englishmen; but a rare Andamans mention.