From Longitude 00’00.00 Meridian Line: KARACHI HISTORY


Dr. Adnan Zuberi

FROM  LONGITUDE  00’00.00 / Meridian Line— HISTORY of KARACHI

  My last visit to this line , Longitude 00’00.00, Greenwich Observatory and National Maritime Museum was in 2015. Here I found a history of Karachi.The watercolour painting  is from National Maritime Museum, Greenwich London.

This is HMS Wellesely, built in Bombay Shipyard in 1815. Sir Admiral Frederick Maitland was the first commander appointed by EIC. Sindh province was not the part of British Colonial Rule yet. Lord George Eden the 1st Earl of Auckland, then Governor General decided to occupy Karachi. On 19 June 1938 Admiral Thomas Maitland, then Captain, took the command of this vessel. When they decided to annex the port in South  Westren India they set asail to Karachi and anchored near Manora. The night between 2nd and 3rd February 1839 they proceed to fire on Mud Castle of Manora Island. That was un expected attack which forced the occupiers of castle( local rulers) to sign a treaty and Karachi came under the rule of EIC. Later HMS Wellsely took part in Persia campaign and more important is First Opium War, ended up in occupation of Hong Kong in 1841.HMS Wellesely was named after Arthur Wellesley,the 1st Duke of Wellington. In 1868 the govt converted this ship into  Reformatory School. She was renamed Cornwall and docked at Purfleet, Essex near London.. Later, Cornwall, renamed Wellesey, was moved to the Tyne, some 20 miles of my home, and served as The Tyne Industrial Training Ship of Wellesley Nautical School. In 1928, due to industrial development at that location, she was moved to Denton, below Gravesend, Kent. In WWII, this vessel was  sunked by bombardment of Germans. Later resurfaced and dismantled. Some of its Timber used in Royal Court of Justice, London. So we can say that this Magnifient building of Royal Court of Justice is a Part of History of Karachi. Admiral Thomas Maitland, 11th Earl of Lauderdale, the conquerer of Karachi died in 1878 in his Family Home in Thirlestaine Castle.Photos:Watercolour painting at Greenwich,  A Model of HMS Weslley, Cadets at Training on ship, Meeting with Chinese authorities at HMS Wellesley for occupation of Hong Kong and Thirlestaine Castle, Scotland- family home of Capt Maitland, conquerer of Karachi, Wellesley House near my Home.

About Amin H. Karim MD

Graduate of Dow Medical College Class of 1977.
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