1725: Leendert Hasenbosch cast away

On this date, in 1725, Leendert Hasenbosch was sent ashore in punishment for sodomy; six months later, he sipped his last bit of turtle’s blood.

He’d made a living first as a Corporal and then a Military Bookkeeper aboard a VOC ship in the Dutch East Indies. After being convicted of sodomy, Hasenbosch’s captain left him a castaway on Ascension Island.

The rest of the story, riddled in castaway lore, acts as a blip on the screen of cultural relativism for execution, religion and homosexuality. Being the diligent bookkeeper, Hasenborsch kept a diary during his six-month prelude to a different sort of Ascension. In January of the following year, British sailors discovered the castaway’s tent and things, including the diary (though no sign of his body was ever found).*

A diary entry of Leendert Hasenbosch.

Much has been written about what happened in those six months between sentence and death, including three published versions with varying degrees of poetic license. The diary’s surviving passages reveal a deeply religious man tormented by his actions, begging for forgiveness while facing imminent death.

Leendert Hasenbosch’s final diary entry.

And so the diary ends. Not a hint of irony on the horizon as the sun sets on Ascension Island.

* Excerpts, claimed as the correct English transcription of the diary, taken from “An Authentick Relation” in The Harleian Miscellany

On this day..

2 thoughts on “1725: Leendert Hasenbosch cast away

  1. Pingback: ExecutedToday.com » Executed Today’s First Annual Report: One Year of Dying Languorously

  2. Hallo Mara,

    you can see giant rainwater collector on this island built during WW2. (ink via myname/homepage)

    Poor man !

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