Today, May 13, marks the anniversary of the departure of The First Fleet.
Eleven ships under command of Captain Arthur Phillip left Portsmouth, England for an eight month trip to Australia. On these ships were 750 convicts from Britain’s overcrowded prison system. Their destination? Botany Bay, to establish the first European settlement on Australian soil.
On the way, they stopped in the Canary Islands, Rio de Janeiro, and the Cape of Good Hope. They arrived at Botany Bay January 1788, but continued looking for the best possible location of the settlement. A week later, they found “one of the finest harbours in the world,” and anchored at Sydney Cove, named for Lord Sydney.