The tragic story of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people of Australia who were eliminated by the British

Palawa people
Palawa people

Black people are the first global citizens and this is beyond doubt given the many archaeological finds over the years.

But those of later civilizations in the quest for power and resources managed to overpower some Black indigenous people, killed them and appropriated their lands and resources.

And in the case of the Black Tasmanian people of Australia, European brutality against melanated people was on full display with devastating outcomes even today.

According to their historical accounts and archaeological findings, the Black indigenous people crossed into Tasmania Island using an ancient bridge which connected the island to the continent of Australia.

Tasmania, being an island slightly bigger than West Virginia, in the U.S., is located 200 miles off the southeast coast of Australia.

Tasmanian male
Tasmanian male

The Palawa people, the first indigenous people of Tasmania, had not known violence all their lives as they enjoyed peace for over 10,000 years without contact with the outside world. This was thanks to rising sea levels submerging the bridge which served as an entry and exit from the island.

However, the people who arrived on the Island around 35,000 years ago soon had Dutch intruders who landed on the island in December 1642, being the first Europeans.

Dutch navigator, Abel Jansen, led the team anchoring off the Tasmanian coast and as typical of invaders, named the island Van Diemen after governor-general of the Dutch East India Company, Anthony Van Diemen.

Though the Dutch invasion was bad enough for the aboriginals as their way of life was altered, the true disaster to visit them was to be engineered by the British.

Truganini
Truganini in 1870

On January 28, 1777, the British reached the island and turned Tasmania into a settlement for their prisoners and convicted criminals.

Not wanting undesirables in their society, those with the worst behaviour and characters in British society, including criminals, rapists and killers, were all shipped to the island.

As history has shown, they were unrelenting in their barbarous and cold-blooded killing and dealings with the Aborigines. Estimates suggest 65,000 Black-hating Caucasians, including administrators and the undesirables, were unreleased on Tasmania.

To be able to live with themselves and assuage their conscience despite their brutish and beastly ways, European scholars twisted human origins.

They placed Caucasians at the top of the pyramid and put Black people at the bottom such that if Blacks were not full humans, then they could be treated like animals.

By 1804, the British colonial government and their convicts had started to slaughter and murder the Tasmanian Aborigines in cold blood. They began kidnapping, torturing and enslaving them very much like the vile deeds they were perpetuating on Africans on the continent.

The overriding drive of the sadist Europeans, especially the British, was the total annihilation of the Black race, and in the sad case of the Tasmanian population, to decimate them.

The Europeans on the island (the British and their partners in genocide) tied the Tasmanian Black men to trees and used them for shooting target practice.

They kidnapped the women and raped them while they were chained. The colonial officers and military often gave the criminals and convicts the authority to hunt the Aborigines for sport, shooting, clubbing and spearing the men to death.

To crown it all, they had fun while roasting the babies of the Tasmanian people alive.

Tasmania
Tasmania man William Lanney with family

The Aboriginal Tasmanians were mostly short, plump, curly-haired, Black to reddish-brown, broad-nosed and wide-mouthed. Even though they did put up a fight, the firepower of the invaders proved superior to the clubs, spears, arrows and other weapons they used.

The British declared war on the Tasmanian Aborigines and named the genocide “The Black War of Van Dieman’s Land”. The war lasted 27 years, between 1803 and 1830, leading to the Black population of Tasmania reducing from over 5,000 to less than 75 people.

To elevate the genocide, two years before the end of the so-called war, the British government declared martial law in 1828 and gave the white in Tasmania the authority to kill the Black people on sight. This was the last resistance for the aborigines.

To expedite the annihilation of the aboriginals, as the two years advanced, the British established a bounty program for Black people and they named it “Black catching”, which then became a huge business for the Europeans in Tasmania. They offered the bounty hunters 5 pounds for each adults Aborigine, and 2 pounds for the children.

After the so-called war, the British rounded up the remaining aborigines and put them in concentration camps, since they did not pose a threat to the British any longer.

Tasmanian Truganini
Tasmanian Truganini seated right

The last full-blooded Tasmanian was a man named William Lanney, who was popularly known as King Billy. Lanney was born in 1835 and grew up on Flinders Island.

When he turned 13, he and the remnant of his people were moved to a concentration camp which was called Oyster Cove. He grew up and became a sailor and often went whaling for some years.

Being the last male Tasmanian, Lanney was considered by the world to be a human relic – the last of an indigenous tribe, murdered by the British.

Lanney died on March 2, 1868, after returning ill from one of his whaling voyages in February of 1868. He passed away in the room he stayed at The Dog and Partridge public-house in Hobart, Tasmania but Lanney’s woes were not over even in death as Europeans started to scramble for his body for experiments.

The night before he was buried, a surgeon went into the mortuary where Lanney was kept, and skinned his head and removed his skull. His skull was then replaced with the skull of another dead person, after which his head’s skin was stitched back.

The Royal Society, for its part, dismembered him. His hand and feet were cut off and shared among themselves, bringing into focus Britain’s sanitized history where their gory deeds are shelved and their recent human right campaigns promoted as if to atone.

Melanated people must be guarded, keeping in mind the great lengths the European would go to take-over resources and land they crave for.

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