Diego Garcia Settlement Expedition

Field of study
The Admiral Hughes and The Napier
The East India Company
In March 1786 shortly after Archibald Blair’s expedition the East India Company set out to establish a settlement on Diego Garcia. The officers in Bombay received the following from London: “To the President and Council of Bombay, We direct that with all possible dispatch, you send two small vessels from Bombay to take possession of and settle the Island Chagos or Diego Gracia, situated in 7 [degrees] 16 [minutes] South, which was visited in the year 1774 by the Drake Ketch. We rely upon your discretion to chose proper persons to be sent in these Vessels to take an exact Survey of the Harbour and Island, and to give an Account of its produce and the best means of settling it, to make it a place for Refreshment of Ships, and also what might be necessary to make it tenable against Attack, which by the Plan, it appears might be done at a very small expence, some of the small vessels from the Bombay Marine should be employed with Diligent and Intelligent Officers to examine and ascertain the situation of numerous Banks and Islands in that part of the Sea, as an accurate knowledge of those hitherto much neglected Seas, is essential to the security and navigation of the Company’s ships…” The expedition, onboard The Napier and The Admiral Hughes, the crew included Capt Sartorius chief engineer and surveyor of the Bombay Engineers (of the military detachment). The expedition carried a set of “secret orders” in case of disagreements with other European countries wishing to settle on the islands. Capt Sartorius, Mr Smyth and Mr Price continued their settlement attempt until November 1786 when they were evacuated.
Expedition leader
Mr Price, Mr J Richmond Smyth
Expedition leader email