TOBAGO 1677 – documentary, 35mm-digital, 90 min., 2013
Director: Rick Haupt
Producer: Silvia Krüger
Production: Ocean Discovery
In 1676, on explicit orders of King Louis XIV, Vice Admiral Comte D’Estrees led a Fleet of 14 war ships to the West Indies to seek out and destroy all Dutch holdings and their Fleet. But besides the royal order, D’Estrees pursued his own agenda, an agenda of revenge on an old nemesis – Vice Admiral Jacob Benckes, the new Governor of Tobago who defeated him a few years earlier during a sea battle. In 1677, the harbor in Tobago is a natural port protected by reefs, rocks, sandbanks and a strong four-star shaped fortress, and yet on a cloudless morning the French fleet sailed into this bay, ferociously attacking the 13 Dutch ships laying there at anchor. During this furious and brutal broadside-to-broadside sea battle, more than 2000 people perished including 300 women, children and babies that were hiding on supply ships. The burnt hulls of once proud ships sank beneath the waves turning this bay into a gigantic war grave, the day – March 3rd 1677 – Ash Wednesday.