This Day in History: 1849-08-13

Troopship Apollo, carrying the 59th Foot (later 2nd East Lancashires) to Hong Kong, and still beset by cholera, arrives at the island of Ilha Grande, Brazil. The troops are landed to set up camp at ‘Albroo’ (Abraão) Bay, and find themselves transported from a seaborne hell to an earthly paradise. In the words of one officer: “Nothing could exceed the beauty of the scenery of this place, it was South America in all its loveliness. The most beautiful birds abounded …The wisdom of landing the men was soon apparent. We had no more of the cholera, and the change to a fresh and wholesome diet, instead of the provisions … with which the ship was victualed, had an immediate effect on the health of the men.” And a private soldier wrote in his diary: “‘I was in my glory. Plenty of oranges and lemons, bananas, plantains, fish, etc., coffee growing in abundance, in fact all kinds of tropical fruit in plenty. Just the place we wanted.”