Why the British lost to a local Sulu prince

This episode is the story of two people who met on an island, became friends, and then fell out and became enemies… And we’re not talking about us!

On the beautiful island of Balambangan, we discover why the British lost to a local Sulu prince, in a seldom told story of wit and cunning.

In the last episode we talked about the privilege cruisers have of being able to visit places few people explore. This week we look at the another main reason for cruising: meeting interesting people and learning about history and culture.

When we were at school (a long time ago!) we learned about “Great” Britain’s fabulous successes all around the world, and how our country of birth came to dominate global trade in the nineteenth century. But it wasn’t always plain sailing and some stories didn’t make it into the school history books (although we suspect that nowadays history is taught in a less jingoistic fashion). This is one of those true stories.

When Sir John Herbert Harrington, of the British East India Company, mismanaged the trading post on Balambangan so badly, the son of the local Sultan and his warriors took it back. They killed most of the men of the colony and drove off the British. It was a simple victory over a feckless leader.

In the evening the sky was a moody purple as a storm raged over neighbouring Pulau Banggi, we hope you like the beautiful drone footage Jamie captured before the rain came down.

Peace and fair winds!
Liz and Jamie

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