Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Voyage East VI - Resupply at Aden

Aden was really the last stop in the Middle East after the trip through Suez. After Aden everything was Asia – the next stop was invariably Bombay. Aden was a natural harbour and a key communications centre for the British. The passenger ships arrived at Tawahi, also known as "Steamer Point" in colonial days.

The British had controlled Aden since 1838 and, in early 1839, the British East India Company landed Royal Marines at Aden to occupy the territory and stop attacks by pirates against British shipping to India. Aden was, for the ships, an important replenishment spot before crossing to India. In the mid-nineteenth century, it became a replenishment spot for water, coal and boiler water.

Until 1937, Aden was ruled as part of British India and was known as the Aden Settlement. Eventually, in 1937, the Settlement was detached from India and became the Colony of Aden, a British Crown colony. Shipping was, to the Brits, what Aden was all about – the Colony’s stamps invariably featured ships (see left).

Aden's location also made it a useful entrepôt for mail passing between places around the Indian Ocean and Europe. Thus, a ship passing from Suez to Bombay could leave mail for Mombasa at Aden for collection. Aden was a crucial staging post for the British empire as the postcard of the British Cable Stations shows (below).

The Voyage East I - Gallions Reach: Where the Journey Began

The Voyage East II - Port Said

The Voyage East III - Alexandria
The Voyage East IV - Through the Canal
The Voyage East V - Suakim, Port Sudan
The Voyage East VII - Gibraltar
The Voyage East VIII - Suez- You Rather Hoped Not


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