Following the end of the Napoleonic Wars, British soldiers returned home to few jobs as a result of the on-going economic crisis in Britain. 

The Cape of Good Hope had been ceded to Britain in the carve-up of land following the Congress of Vienna. The newly appointed Colonial Secretary persuaded the British Government to invest GBP 50 000 into an immigration scheme in order to increase the English speaking population in the newly acquired territory. The government’s intention was to establish settlements in the eastern part of the province which would be able to withstand the border raids of the native Xhosa people. The immigration scheme was also designed to boost the popularity of the ruling government in Britain at a time of rising unemployment, a trade recession following the wars in Europe and general social unrest. 

Sixty parties of immigrants set sail for South Africa on seventeen ships from various parts of the United Kingdom between December 1819 and October 1820. 

One party from Wiltshire set sail from Portsmouth on 7 January 1820. The ship arrived in Algoa Bay four months later on 15 May. The immigrants were promised a warm climate and 100 acres of land to call their own. The journey was hard with an outbreak of measles claiming the lives of several children on board. Eleven babies were born at sea during the voyage. 

The settlers were offloaded, together with their luggage, in Algoa Bay and left to make the best of it. They had no option but to take root and grow.

The following 99-word flash was written for Charli Mills’ Flash Fiction Challenge:

December 13, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about Cora Kingston. You can answer any of the questions history obscures or completely make up a Cora Kingston story. Go where the prompt (and the name) leads you. 

Cora Kingston stood on the wooden deck of the ship gazing in wonder at the white sand and scrubby greenery of Algoa Bay.

The knowledge that the terrible four-month long journey by sea was nearly over filled her with relief.

The strong sun shone down on her as she cuddled her three-week-old infant in her arms. She was thankful that the government’s promise of a warm climate was true. Hopefully, the promise of 100 acres of land would also materialise. She offered a silent prayer of thanks that this baby would have a better opportunity in this new land.