Thursday, 14 February 2008

Maldivia, St. Helena


Here is the very pleasant and peaceful place where we stayed.
It is in Maldivia, situated in the Upper Jamestown valley.  The area is named after slaves from the Maldives who worked in the gardens, then a Government Plantation, after they arrived on the island in 1735.

March 17.—Capt. Pelly of the Drake at the distance of 150 leagues from land took up a Boat with ten Blacks of the Maldive Islands who were drove out to Sea and near perishing—three died on board, 5 Men, 1 woman and 1 boy landed here.
(From the Jamestown Records)
It is about a mile from Jamestown to Maldivia, and a similar distance from Maldivia to the Briars, but a much harder climb.














What we had not realised was that we were very close to one of the few private houses that Napoleon ever visited on the island - Maldivia House, then the home of Major Charles Robert George Hodson ( 1779-1858). He was over 6 foot tall, and Napoleon nicknamed him "Hercules".





Napoleon's visit came on the evening of Sir George Cockburn's Ball, on November 20th 1815. Having spotted the house in the valley below when accompanying the Balcombes' carriage as it left the Briars for the ball, he descended and was welcomed in by Major Hodson. Apparently Napoleon characteristically "tweaked the nose" of Major Hodson's young son. Major Hodson lent Napoleon's party some horses for the return journey to the Briars. Napoleon in return invited him and his wife for dinner at Longwood on January 4th 1816. Hodson attended Napoleon's funeral, and also the exhumation in 1840. He died at Bath in 1858.

Below is a view of the upper Jamestown Valley from the track that Napoleon would have used.




















Above is a view looking out to Jamestown and the sea from the modern road above the Upper Jamestown Valley.

Finally it should be noted that King Dinuzulu also spent some time at Maldivia during his period of exile in the 1890's. He seems to have enjoyed his period of exile more than Napoleon, and apparently his granddaughter still lives on the island. 

http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=318113&area=/insight/insight__escape/

IMPORTANT: Please read the blog on 12 April 2013 for an update on Maldivia

12 comments:

Riley said...

Very intereting article, I would be more than happy if you could tell more about Maldivia and those Maldives settlers. I am from the Maldives.

Aishath ali naaz, h.sea-side said...

Very interesting, would it be possible to find out anything more about the Maldivian slaves? Do they have any descendents? I too am a Maldivian.I never knew, Maldivians were taken as slaves....

nashydhu said...

interesting read ...

aishath said...

It is indeed amazing , I would like to know moore about the settlers if they are still there and how to contact them

Fathimath said...

Being a Maldivian am quite surprised to read this. But very interesting.

tantra said...

would be great to know more ways of tracing the voyage of the Maldivians and their settlement.

Adam said...

Very informative article indeed. I'm not much surprised to the events in it. Because, I know that the Maldives has been a place where settlers have been living for more than 2000 years. Some records show that ancient Maldivians have sent tributes to Julius Ceaser, the emperor of Rome.

I hate to put politics here, but it's very foolish that we Maldivians listen to the ousted Mr.Gayyoom (the dictator) who claims that he's the ONLY one who let the world know of the existence of the Maldives to the rest of the world. (It's just the knowledge base who knew about the Maldives then and even now.)

ZIYADH said...

So this British merchant ship picked the lost at sea Maldivians and took them to St. Helena and treated them as slaves. We Maldivians never was enslaved as such. And God Knows what happened to them later. How barberic!

John Tyrrell said...

I think the reference to them as "slaves" is my mistake. Please see my latest post on this (July 2009).
My apologies for this error.

Aishath said...

If you have any information on the descendents of these MAldivians would be really interested to know. Thank you for sharing this information. Never knew that Maldivians were taken as slaves to France.

Xavier Romero-Frias said...

This was probably a vedi (odi) from the Southern Atolls of the Maldives that got lost after returning from a trading trip to India or Ceylon. During my ethnographic research in the Maldives I recorded vedis lost and drifting to the East African coast, the Seychelles, Andamans and north of Madagascar. Thank you for this important historical fact.

Team Zodwa - Cycling South said...

Hello - I have just found this blog on Maldivia while researching my grandmother's life on St. Helena. She was born in Maldivia and I cannot understand why - was it ever a nursing home (around 1903)? Perhaps they lived there for a short time, I am not sure, the family lived in Rose Cottage (the one that does not exist anymore overlooking Sandy Bay) however they had a home in Jamestown, which we assumed to be Truebody House as her father was Ralph Truebody Adams, son of Harriet Truebody.
Do you have any records of the house around 1903?
Thanks
Shona Bell