Tasman Background – Port Arthur
The trek to Port Arthur took many months under the best conditions. The voyage crossed and re-crossed the Atlantic, sailed beyond the Indian Ocean, and ended up at the southern tip of Tasmania.
The quaint-looking village was actually a penal colony where the British sent convicts to work as slaves to help The Crown produce saleable products (timber, coal). It also kept control of the southern most trade route between the Spice Islands and Europe, a location of world importance in the 1850s.
Settlers as well as released convicts were encouraged to remain on the island to establish British control of the area. Many European countries seized land away from their shores in an effort to control routes and fill their coffers from products harvested from the claimed lands.
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