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The rise of the British empire - India
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Extract from a letter written by a British official in 1785 about the island of Diego Garcia
(Catalogue ref: FO 148/6 no.1)
To the President and Council of Bombay

We direct that with all possible dispatch, you send two small vessels from Bombay to take possession of and settle the Island Chagos or Diego Gracia, situated in 7 16" South, which was visited in the year 1774 by the Drake Ketch. We rely upon your discretion to choose proper persons to be sent in these Vessels to take an exact Survey of the Harbour and Island, and to give an Account of its produce and the best means of settling it, to make it a place for Refreshment for Ships, and also what may be necessary to make it tenable against an Attack, which by the Plan, it appears might be done at a very small expence, some of the small vessels from the Bombay Marine should be employed with Diligent and Intelligent Officers to examine and ascertain the situation of the numerous Banks and Islands in that part of the Sea, as an accurate knowledge of those hitherto much neglected Seas, is essential to the security and navigation of the Company's Ships;
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