About | Volunteer | Support
History Project Facebook
History Project Youtube
History Project on Instagram
sponsors
sponsors

On This Day… The Black Hole Of Calcutta

Written by: George Chittenden : 27 Jul 2019

It was on this day, 20th June back in 1756 when dozens of prisoners were thrown into a small cell at Fort William, India, for a night of hell in an incident the history books remember as “the black hole of Calcutta.”

The actual number of prisoners that faced the horrific conditions varies from account to account. We do know that the cell measured 14 feet × 18 feet, and that the next morning when it was re-opened most of the poor prisoners had died from either suffocation or heat exhaustion. Many reports state that 146 were placed in the cell, and only 21 survived imprisonment, however some accounts report that the number of people forced into the famous black hole was lower, but either way, when the cell’s door was opened the next day the guards faced a mound of dead bodies.

So, what led to the incident in the first place? Well, The East India Company, who were relatively new to India, had established a trading base in Calcutta and had increased the defences of its main fort in the city, Fort William. On hearing of this, the Newab of Bengal, Siraj ud-Daulah, raised a small army consisting of 50,000 troops, fifty cannons and 500 elephants. When he marched on Calcutta, the British were caught off-guard. Unfortunately for them their mortars were too damp to be used and their British Commander, John Zephaniah Holwell, who had little military experience was forced to surrender the fort. The surviving defenders who were captured and made prisoners-of-war numbered between 64 and 69 and were placed in the cell along with an unknown number of Anglo-Indian soldiers and civilians, including several women.

Search

By Era

To 5000 BCE 5000 - 2000 BCE 2000 BCE - 0 0 - 400 CE 400 - 800 CE 800 - 1100 CE 1100 - 1500 CE 1500 - 1700 CE 18th Century 19th Century 1900's 1910's 1920's 1930's 1940's 1950's 1960's 1970's 1980's 1990's 2000's 2010's

By Topic

Royal British Roman North American Egyptian Nautical European Social WW1 Military Viking Asian African Australian South American Political Celebrity WW2 Religion

We promote history by...

offering free articles and videos, providing free history experiences for children in schools and on weekends. Next year we will be visiting hospitals and providing unforgettable experiences to children who really need it and give them a chance to forget their condition, their treatment and their reality. Please join others who support our free projects by giving a small donation. We can only continue our great work with your help.

appealimage

Support The History Project


Local Lads that cover the Kent area, boasting a 9.9/ 10 on checkatrade.com these lads really give their very best for a very very fair price. ( image attached) phone number could be good under construction - 07791101946Transportation, storage and removal serviceGot some waste you have been meaning to get rid of? Give Benn a call, heLocal Lads that cover the Kent area, boasting a 9.9/ 10 on checkatrade.com these lads really give their very best for a very very fair price. ( image attached) phone number cwould be good under construction - 07791101946ACAS The Decorating Company - 07759075930Visiting Deal? Take a Pitt Stop at The Seagull  We are a family owned and operated Removal and International Overseas Shipping company based in DealFarsim BoutiqueHave a spare room or property you would like to make some money from? Contact Ally now  Tower Print and Design deliver the highest quality print on a whole range of items for a very reasonable priceHave a spare room or property you would like to make some money from? Contact Ally now  Support the History Project - Your face hereSpecialist brokers whoThe History ProjectLocal Lads that cover the Kent area, boasting a 9.9/ 10 on checkatrade.com these lads really give their very best for a very very fair price. ( image attached) phone number could be good under construction - 07791101946Local Lads that cover the Kent area, boasting a 9.9/ 10 on checkatrade.com these lads really give their very best for a very very fair price. ( image attached) phone number could be good under construction - 07791101946Heritage WindGo back in time and explore DealTower Print and Design deliver the highest quality print on a whole range of items for a very reasonable priceComing to Deal, Receive a Warm welcome and some of the best organic coffee in town, also great Gluten free and Vegan options hereAspen Waite helps ambitious companies achieve their goals with quality advice and support, whatever the challenge.Top quality plumbing, and heating services at a very competitive price click here to find out more.Sea Cafe Coffee Shop Walmer Green, StrandWellingtons are known for there expertly cooked food and hearty portions, here you will not go hungry. You can watch the ships sail by whilst you eat as Wellingtons is positioned right on the seafrontThis wonderful family run company offers bespoke and tailored environmentally friendly Housekeeping packagesComing to Deal, Receive a Warm welcome and some of the best organic coffee in town, also great Gluten free and Vegan options hereDeals best-kept secret, nestled in Deal167141396823054912901936646065432465734917523355