When the American colonies gained independence in 1783, Britain was forced to look for a new outlet for convicts. In 1785, Order in Council were issued for the establishment of a penal colony in New South Wales. The assembled voyage fleet was comprised of eleven vessels that carried more than 1,000 convicts, marines, and seamen, along with the requisite supplies for the voyage and establishment of a colony. Led by Captain Arthur Phillip, the First Fleet departed Portsmouth on 13 May 1787. Apart from one recorded incident, the convict population of the fleet behaved well during the voyage. The fleet...

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