On October 28 1628 the Batavia set sail from Texel in the Netherlands on her maiden journey to Batavia, now called Jakarta, in the Dutch Colonies of Indonesia. Seven other ships of various sizes accompanied her. Francesco Pelsaert, a senior merchant, commanded the Batavia. The skipper of the ship was Ariaen Jacobsz and he did not approve of having a merchant commanding the flagship. These two men were old enemies from a previous journey.
It took eight months to reach the Cape of Good Hope and the Batavia arrived with only two other ships because bad weather had split up the convoy. Once there the skipper ended up in a fight aboard one of the other ships. The skipper was publicly humiliated by Pelsaert, which made Jacobsz despise the commodore even more.
Soon after this, Jeronimus Cornelius, the skipper's new companion, suggested mutiny to the Skipper. The plan was, with a handful of Cornelius's and Jacobsz's trusted men, it would be possible to seize the ship, kill the soldiers, throw Pelsaert overboard and take the ship and its bounty.
Before the mutiny could take place the Batavia ran aground on the Houtman Abrolhos, an Archipelago of the coast of Western Australia. About forty people died and the rest were loaded on to nearby islands. Pelsaert and Jacobsz knew they were in trouble and took the ships two boats and set sail for Batavia to find help.
The people left behind had no water and hardly any food, although the water was replenished from rain about a week later. Now the passengers and crew were left on the island with none other than Jeronimus Cornelius and his mutineers. Jeronimus, as it would turn out, was actually a psychotic killer very able to manipulate people.
Cornelius, being the most senior in command left, sent the soldiers to a nearby island in search of water although he was actually hoping they would die. Cornelius made sure they left their weapons behind. He also divided up the rest o