Tuesday 11 May 2021

Madasahatta in the 17th Century

Madasahatta in 1914. Over two hundred years previously the landscape would be very different although the settlements that would eventually become Port Maleesh, Bluchershafen and Port Victoria were already established.

 For sometime I have been thinking about pirates and Madasahatta - although not simultaneously! The 17th century came to the fore with my acquisition of Oak and Iron by Firelock Games. This includes a selection of 1:600th scale 17th century ships of various types that could be readily supplemented but the expansion packs available as well as those from the very nice range produced by Miniairons. That all round good egg The Jolly Broom Man added to my collection a selection of models from them and they are really very nice indeed (many thanks once again old chap!). My interest in the whole pirate thing was originally from the naval side but now is more in terms of having a land dimension as well using those very nice figures produced by Peter Pig.

I have finally ‘pulled the trigger’ and taken delivery of sufficient Peter Pig 15mm Pirates to give me two HOTT/PW sized forces that will also include a contingent of Barbary Corsairs. Whilst I have sufficient models for the Pirates and likely government opposition I shall need to avail myself of some Xebecs for the Corsairs - Warlord are launching some in their Black Seas range but these are 1:700th. I rather like the variety available from Miniairons so will probably use theirs.

So where does Madasahatta come in to all this?

Well, as a ready made environment for gaming it has plenty of potential. By winding the clock back some two hundred odd year to the latter end of the 17th century then a very different picture emerges of what Madasahatta looks like - before the Colonial period and later.

To begin with, the island would be largely unexplored but with some key players already making their mark on the landscape. Bluchershafen was originally a Dutch settlement with a garrison and was a vital staging post en route to the Dutch East Indies and their spices. Although a strong position and adequately garrisoned the Dutch were content to keep themselves to themselves but woe betide anybody attempting to interfere with their spice trade. 

Port Maleesh was a Barbary enclave owing allegiance to the Sublime Porte. Privateering was rife and the slave markets in the merchants quarter were well renowned for the quality of their merchandise and the speed with which they could fleece the unwary.

Port Victoria was a pirate stronghold operated by the Brethren of the Coast (Indian Ocean Chapter) and modelled (rather unsuccessfully it must be said) on the fabled pirate utopia of Libertalia.

From this little lot the following emerges. The pirates will pick on anybody but are wary about being too obvious when it comes to the Dutch or the Barbary Corsairs. The Dutch will pick up the odd prize here and there but for the most part are more concerned with their lucrative spice trade. The Barbary Corsairs will take on anybody as long as they have a local superiority - occasionally that are very dangerous when the Sultan is behind them.

So the scene is being set for a variety of raids, privateering and general mischief making in the early days of Madasahatta.

That is the plan in any event but first of all the ACW ships need finishing.


Steve J. said...

David, this all looks very interesting and a nice idea to move the action back a few centuries. Naturally I look forward to seeing how this develops both on sea and on land:)

David Crook said...

Hello there Steve J,

It is very early stages but various things are coming together - I am looking forward to painting up some ships that I have not scratch built for a change!

All the best,


Archduke Piccolo said...

Hi David -
Madasahatta does seem like a likely spot from which to carry out acts of piracy upon the high seas, doesn't it? A neat extrapolation into another time of a known setting. Ain't this fun, though?

One thing I seriously considered but have for the moment set aside was a native 'navy' of war canoes, something like the Sarawak 'proa' or west African war craft. Couldn't get it to 'fit' east Africa for some reason.

tsold3000 said...

I just received my copy in the mail..Good fun read with tons of inspiration.so a timely and coincidental post.

The Jolly Broom Man said...

Nice fusion of ideas matey. Should keep you busy for a while!

David Crook said...

Hello there Archduke,

I was thinking I needed an exotic location and originally thought about the Caribbean but the whole Barbary Corsair angle meant that I needed to look to the east for inspiration. From reading about Libertalia and Madagascar it was a but a short hop to Madasahatta!

There are some indigenous tribes on the island and so having native uprisings and raids etc could certainly add another dimension and the prospect of war canoes is something else to think about!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi there tsold3000,

Bob did a really good job collating the material for the book and it was as much to take part in as it is to read about!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hello there Jolly Broom Man,

It seemed a natural fit for what I wanted to do with the pirates and thanks to you the naval side has been reinforced a little!

It should be a lot of fun.

ACW ships first though!

All the best,