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regular-article-logo Thursday, 25 July 2024

Yesterdate: This day from Calcutta’s past, June 19, 1756

On this day, Nawab of Bengal Siraj-ud-Daulah was at the gates of Fort William in Calcutta with an army of 50,000 soldiers, 50 cannons and 500 elephants

Chandrima S. Bhattacharya Published 19.06.24, 06:29 AM
Siraj-ud-Daulah

Siraj-ud-Daulah File image

On this day, Nawab of Bengal Siraj-ud-Daulah was at the gates of Fort William in Calcutta with an army of 50,000 soldiers, 50 cannons and 500 elephants. By that time the British had retreated to the British East India Company’s ships. John Zephaniah Holwell was in charge of the British side, which had less than 200 soldiers left at the fort. Holwell surrendered to Siraj on June 20 afternoon.

June 20, 1756, is marked by “the Black Hole Tragedy”. According to Holwell, the surrendered British were forced into a small chamber at the fort by the Nawab’s army.

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More than a hundred of the prisoners died. Only 23 of them survived, Holwell’s account said. Later, commentators and historians have questioned Holwell’s account and claimed that fewer people had died.

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