7. Leendert Hasenbosch: The Employee of the Dutch East India Company Stranded on an Island because of His Sexual Preferences.
In 1725, Leendert Hasenbosch was a thirty-year-old ship’s officer or bookkeeper on the Prattenburg, a vessel belonging to the East India Company. However, he fell foul of his employers when he was discovered having sex with one of the crew. The assembled captains of the fleet tried Hasenbosch and found guilty of sodomy. His lover, who as an ordinary sailor was probably thrown overboard. However, Hasenbosch was an officer, so he escaped outright death. Instead, he was sentenced to be “set ashore, as a villain” on Ascension Island in the South Atlantic.
On May 5, 1725, his shipmates abandoned Hasenbosch on the island with nothing but a tent, a few changes of clothes, some seeds, writing materials and books, and a month’s supply of water. Why he was given seeds is questionable as those who abandoned him there must have known he would not last long. For no one told him where to locate fresh water on the island and Hasenbosch could not find it himself. Once his month’s ration of water ran out, Hasenbosch had to drink turtle blood and his urine to survive.
In the meantime, he put the paper and pens to good use, keeping a detailed diary of his stay. He recorded his hope that another ship would find him. In the meantime, he vainly searched for food- and the elusive water supply. “8th, 9thand 10th” read a diary entry made in August,” searched carefully but found no water. Have employed myself in praying and interceding with God to have mercy on my soul.”
The diary ended on October 14th1725. In January 1726, the ship that Hasenbosch had hoped for finally arrived at Ascension Island. However, when the British sailors discovered Hasenbosch’s tent, they found it empty but for his diary which was later published. Of the man himself, commons there was no sign. It is believed that Leendert Hasenboch died alone on Ascension, after being marooned there for just six months.