The first war of Independence in 1857, otherwise known as the Sepoy Mutiny, became the catalyst for a settlement in the Andamans. The prisons in the mainland were overflowing with freedom fighters. The British government therefore decided to establish a penal settlement in the Andamans for the revolutionaries.
On 10th March 1858 the HMS Semiramis arrived in Port Blair with 200 freedom fighters and 50 Naval brigades men under the command of Maj James Pattison Walker. The prisoners were first brought to Chatham island. After only a few days Walker shifter them to Ross island
Named after Captain Daniel Ross, the famous surveyor who retired as the Marine Surveyor General in Bengal in 1833, Ross island stands sentinel at the mouth of the Port Blair harbour
Ross Island, once the headquarters of the British colony, today houses ruins and important landmarks ensconced within a tangle of vines, roots, and tree torsos, namely, Officers Quarters, an old Church, the Chief Commissioner’s house, the Cathedral, and Graveyard. Today, there is a light and sound show commissioned by the Tourist Department that revives the past. Peacocks, deer and ducks roam free and there is a beautiful view of the sea all around.