Calcutta, India

PO Black Hole

The “Black Hole of Calcutta” (India) was a small — 14 by 18 feet — jail in Fort William, a British fort that was besieged and captured in June of 1756. The captors sought a space to lock up the prisoners, and chose the jail. Accounts vary, but between 64 and 146 men and women, many wounded, were locked up for the night. The jail had only two windows. The prisoners had no water. When the door was opened the next morning, only 23 were still alive, the rest having suffocated, been trampled or died of the heat. The guardroom is long gone; its site is in an alley behind the General Post Office in Calcutta.