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For the notable geological rocks seen in various episodes, see black rocks.
Black Rock
Black Rock (full)
First seen
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Owned by
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Status
Destroyed

The Black Rock was a fully-rigged 19th century British trading ship that was found shipwrecked on the Island and overgrown by the jungle. The ship carried a cargo of slaves, dynamite, and other equipment intended for mining. In the midst of a large storm at sea, a massive wave swept the vessel inland, causing it to crash violently into the statue of Taweret, thus toppling the structure, leaving only the foot of the statue intact. This wave carried the ship far into the interior of the Island where it finally came to rest in an area known as the "Dark Territory". The ship was captained by Magnus Hanso, who was allegedly buried somewhere close to the wreck. In 2007, Hugo Reyes destroyed the ship by detonating the remaining dynamite.

History

Normal theincident012
The Black Rock approaches the Island, as Jacob and the Man in Black look on. ("The Incident, Part 1")

The early history and voyages of the Black Rock are unknown. At a 1996 auction of the ship's first mate's journal, the auctioneer stated that the Black Rock set sail from Portsmouth, England on March 22, 1845, purportedly on a trading mission to the Kingdom of Siam (now known as Thailand). The ship was later lost at sea. ("The Constant") Much later Locke theorized that the ship with its cargo of slaves was "en-route to a mining colony; probably set off from the eastern coast of Africa—Mozambique." ("Exodus, Part 2") The final voyage of the Black Rock was depicted in "Ab Aeterno", revealing that neither theory was entirely correct.

Canary Islands

6x09 ISeeTheDevil
The Black Rock heads towards the Island, in the middle of a severe storm. ("Ab Aeterno")

The Black Rock made port in the Canary Islands in 1867. Jonas Whitfield, one of the ship's officers, was looking for prisoners who could speak English for transportation aboard the Black Rock. It was implied he was taking them to the New World. He found Richard there and purchased him as a slave from a priest, with the words, "This man is now the property of Captain Magnus Hanso." ("Ab Aeterno")

Arrival

In 1867, the Black Rock approached the Island, as Jacob and the Man in Black sat on the beach having a conversation. The Man in Black stated with assurance that he knew how the ship had found its way there: it was Jacob who had brought it there. ("The Incident, Part 1") Jacob later confirmed in a conversation with Richard that he had brought the Black Rock to the Island. ("Ab Aeterno")

Note: The Black Rock is used at various points in the series as a source of dynamite. According to the storyline, the Black Rock both set sail and crashed on the Island in 1867; this is the exact year that Alfred Nobel patented dynamite. It is probably dubious that a slave ship in the Canary Islands could have come to acquire large quantities of dynamite within the year the patent was granted in the United States. [1]

Shipwreck

Statueabaeterno3
The Black Rock is propelled by a massive wave toward the head of the Statue of Taweret. ("Ab Aeterno")

While the ship was still close to the Island, a powerful storm swept into the area. The Black Rock was caught and was swept inland by an enormous wave some 200 feet in height. The ship collided with the statue of Tawaret, destroying it before being deposited in an area of the jungle that would later be referred to by Danielle Rousseau as the "Dark Territory".

With only five officers surviving the shipwreck, Jonas Whitfield elected to kill the surviving prisoners lest, if freed, they should turn on their captors. He was about to kill Richard when the Monster attacked the ship, killing the remaining crew and Jonas, but leaving Richard alive, chained below decks. Days passed, with Richard slowly growing weaker in his attempts to free himself. During this time, wild boar entered the hold through a breach in the hull to scavenge on the dead. Not long after this, Richard was visited by the Man in Black in the form of Isabella. Hearing the return of the Man in Black's Monster form, he told her to run, helplessly listening to her screams as she was seemingly attacked upon going above deck. Later, the Man in Black entered the hold and freed Richard from his chains after striking an agreement. Liberated but severely weakened, Richard then left the Black Rock, supported by the Man in Black. ("Ab Aeterno")

DHARMA Initiative

In 1974, the DHARMA Initiative appeared to be unaware of the wreck's existence. When questioned by Sawyer, Horace Goodspeed (an on-Island leader of the Initiative) claimed he had never heard of the Black Rock. ("LaFleur")

Blastdoormap BD
Locke is exposed to the Blast Door Map.

Much later (likely sometime between 1991 and 2001), a notation was made on the blast door map at the Swan reading: "Known final resting place of Magnus Hanso/Black Rock." ("Lockdown") It is highly likely that Stuart Radzinsky and/or Kelvin Inman (the map's creators) visited the wreck.

French science team

5x04 MeetingDanielle
Jin meets Danielle Rousseau.

In November 1988, a French science expedition including Danielle Rousseau shipwrecked on the Island. According to Danielle, her team discovered the Black Rock some two months after their arrival. After the death of her team, Danielle recorded a distress signal at the radio tower. In her message, she relayed that she would "try to make it to the Black Rock."

Danielle appeared to have visited the wreck infrequently in the years following, in order to obtain dynamite. She used the explosives to booby-trap her own dwelling, and later revealed the existence of the cache to the survivors of Flight 815. ("Numbers")  ("Exodus, Part 2")

The Black Rock was clearly marked on one of Danielle's maps that Sayid stole from her. ("Solitary")

DarkTerritoryRousseau'sMap1x18
The location of the Dark Territory as indicated by Sayid ("Numbers")


After the crash of Oceanic 815

First visit to the Black Rock

On Day 44 after the crash of Flight 815, Danielle took a group of the survivors (Locke, Hurley, Kate, Jack, and Arzt) to the Black Rock in order to retrieve some of the dynamite stored inside. They planned to use the dynamite to blow open The Swan station's hatch. Locke, Kate, and Jack entered the ship through a large hole in the hull, discovering numerous skeletons - some still in their shackles and chains. They discovered old rusted out mining equipment as well as several crates of dynamite - one of which was removed from the ship. After scolding Jack and Locke for carelessly handling the crate of dynamite, Arzt took control of the explosives. He gave the group a history lesson explaining the dangerous instability of dynamite that has remained stored in humid and hot jungle conditions, and was then blown up when he took a second to relax his grip on a stick of dynamite that was carefully holding. The remaining survivors left the ship, taking with them several sticks of dynamite. Some of the dynamite was used to repel the Monster, who had taken a hold of Locke, in crossing back through the Dark Territory. ("Exodus, Part 2")

Blackrock12
Locke and Sawyer outside the Black Rock ("The Brig")


Second visit to the Black Rock

A few months later, Locke returned to the Black Rock, imprisoning his father, Anthony Cooper, in the ship's brig. Locke then returned to the survivor's beach camp to get Sawyer. Upon learning Cooper was the confidence man, Tom Sawyer, who was responsible for his own parents' murder/suicide, Sawyer forced the imprisoned Cooper to read his letter, and then strangled him in a fit of rage. While waiting outside, Locke encountered Danielle Rousseau who had arrived at the ship to retrieve more dynamite. ("The Brig") The dynamite was later used as a trap for the Others. ("Through the Looking Glass").

6x07 Richard Hurley
Richard, Jack and Hurley arrive at the Black Rock. ("Dr. Linus")


Third visit to the Black Rock

In 2007, Richard brought Jack and Hurley to the Black Rock, where he tried unsuccessfully to let Jack kill him with dynamite. Richard, after touching some chains, mused that that was the first time he had returned to the Black Rock since he arrived on the Island aboard her some 140 years earlier. ("Dr. Linus")

6x12 TheBurnedRock
The burning remains of the Black Rock. ("Everybody Loves Hugo")

Fourth visit to the Black Rock

On the following day Ilana returned to the ship to retrieve some dynamite. ("Everybody Loves Hugo")

Destruction

Determined to destroy the Ajira plane on Hydra Island, Richard and the remaining survivors returned to the Black Rock after Ilana's death to retrieve more dynamite. Hurley, however, managed to arrive at the wreck ahead of them and set off the explosives, destroying the entire ship. ("Everybody Loves Hugo")

Notable references

Black Rock ledger

Blackrockportrait
The 1996 Southfield's auction of the Black Rock ledger. ("The Constant") The painting Black Rock Storm is later seen hanging in Charles Widmore's residence. ("The Shape of Things to Come")

In 1996, the ship's first mate's journal came up for sale at an auction at Southfield's. According to the auctioneer, the Black Rock was believed to have been lost at sea. However, some seven years after the ship's disappearance, the journal of the vessel's first mate was discovered among the artifacts of pirates on Île Sainte-Marie, an island off the coast of Madagascar. The ledger previously was the property of the Hanso family, but was put forward for sale by Tovard Hanso. This journal was believed to be the only surviving remnant of the Black Rock's final voyage. It was purchased at the auction by Charles Widmore. ("The Constant")

Distress signal

The first mention in the show of the Black Rock occurred in "Pilot, Part 2" when the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 picked up Rousseau's recorded distress signal. Danielle's message was in French, however, and Shannon failed to translate it in its entirety. ("Pilot, Part 2")

Danielle Rousseau

Upon capturing Sayid, Danielle told him a portion of her account and mentioned her team returning from the Black Rock. At the time, however, she did not elaborate on her story and it was unclear that she was referring to the name of a ship. ("Solitary")

Claire's diary

After Claire's abduction by the Others, Charlie read her diary, hoping to find some clues as to her whereabouts. He uncovered a passage where Claire mentioned she had been having dreams about a "black rock". ("Special")

Flash-sideways timeline

In the flash-sideways timeline, Dr. Benjamin Linus was giving a tutorial lesson to one of his students, Alex. Open on the desk in front of them was a chapter titled: "East India Trading Company" with an accompanying picture of a ship bearing a strong resemblance to the Black Rock. ("Dr. Linus")

Apocrypha

Semi-canon (and often contradictory) explanations of the Black Rock's origins have been given in Lost's alternate reality games.

The Lost Experience

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A page from the New World Sea Traders book with information about Magnus Hanso and the company's shipping fleet (picture is HMS Victory in 1884)


The Black Rock was allegedly owned and run by the British trading group the New World Sea Traders. The slave trade had been outlawed in 1807, however slavery itself was not abolished in the British Empire until 1833. The company owned a fleet of fifteen ships, including a frigate, two sloops, and three slave ships. The Black Rock may have been one of these slave ships, though they were sold in 1882, a year after the Black Rock disappeared according to Lost Experience sources, suggesting the company may have had actually 16 ships pre-1881.

The New World Sea Traders was owned and operated by Magnus Hanso, a former ship's captain who became a business entrepreneur. While no direct ownership has been stated, it is known that the Black Rock sailed out of slip 23 in Portsmouth docks, and Hanso's trading group managed slips 18 to 27. [1]

Black rock
A different look of the Black Rock, from The Lost Experience

According to articles revealed by Rachel Blake, the Black Rock disappeared in 1881, on a return voyage from a gold mining operation in the South Indian Ocean. Perhaps more interesting than the fact the ship was lost were the circumstances preceding and following its disappearance. According to traders on Papua New Guinea, the ship sailed away from port in an Easterly direction, rather than West to Africa, where it would exchange gold from the mines in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea for more slaves. According to the ship's manifest that was discovered, the Black Rock initially sailed from (and was supposed to return to) slip 23 in Portsmouth, Britain—but no shipping company claimed ownership. A crew of some 40 men, along with an uncounted number of slaves, was presumably lost at sea.[2] Magnus Hanso was known to still have a hands-on passion for the sea and insisted on captaining several voyages every year. It is likely that he was captaining the Black Rock himself when the ship disappeared, based on the note on the blast door map.

The sale of the company in 1882 to the East Ocean Trade Group saw the remainder of the New World Sea Traders slaving and military vessels converted to legitimate trading ships. In the 1950s, the Hanso Group purchased the East Ocean Trade Group, and renamed it to the Allied Copenhagen Marine Merchants. (Rachel Blake Copenhagen 02)

Find 815

BlackRock-website
The page about the Black Rock in Sam's browser

While investigating the disappearance of Flight 815, Sam Thomas received an email from someone who said that he or she knew Sonya. They sent a picture of her. After noticing incongruities in the image, Sam found four messages in it: "Sunda Trench", "Christiane I", "Black Rock" and "Tell no one—Grave Consequences." On Sam's desktop, a website dealing with the Sunda Trench originally also showed a diagram of a slaveship. (Find 815 clues/January 2)

After he got on board the Christiane I, a new website briefly appeared in Sam's web browser giving a brief history of the Black Rock. His contact, Tracey R, also found some facts through research, and contacted Sam via email. Most of the information reiterated clues revealed as part of The Lost Experience, though Tracey made inferences not explicitly stated earlier, such as that Magnus may have been aboard the Black Rock when it vanished. Also, the website in Sam's browser claimed the Black Rock was one of three slave ships owned by the New World Sea Traders, though there appears some discrepancy as the three ships the company had in 1882 were sold off (a year after the Black Rock disappeared). Thus, the article should presumably say "one of four" at least. (Find 815 clues/January 8)

BRSalvage
Talbot's project

It was later revealed that the Christiane I's mission was to search for the wreck of the Black Rock. It was not fully explained why the crew wished to find the wreck, but the expedition supervisor Oscar Talbot, assigned to the ship by The Maxwell Group, commented in an interview that the mission was an archaeological survey of the wreck, which they believed sank in the Sunda Trench in 1881. (Find 815 clues/January 11)  (Find 815 clues/January 14)

The Find 815 narrative is not strictly considered canon as it was written by an outside company hired by ABC, meaning Lost executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse had little input on the narrative. However, Damon Lindelof did admit in an interview that he considers the Christiane I to be canon as it was mentioned in "Confirmed Dead". He also states that the Christiane I's mission was to find the Black Rock, but implies that it also had an undisclosed primary mission. [3]


Trivia

  • In "The Incident, Parts 1 & 2-Enhanced", the ship approaching the Island was referred to as "an early 1800s wooden sailing ship." ("The Incident, Parts 1 & 2-Enhanced") According to the Official Lost Podcast of March 24, 2010, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse revealed that this ship was, in fact, the Black Rock.
  • When the Black Rock was first shown in "Exodus, Part 1", only about 1/4 of it was actually built as a set. The rest was added via CGI. When it was shown again in "The Brig", it was completely CGI.
  • The image from the New World Sea Traders book was originally taken from a woodcut image of the HMS Victory, a First Rate battleship from the Battle of Trafalgar.
  • The image from The Lost Experience is actually of a different ship than the one shown on the show. The Black Rock on the Island is much smaller, if the stern is any gauge. The black and white image from The Lost Experience is not that of a slave ship, but of a man of war, probably a fifth- or fourth-rate frigate. The gun ports are clearly visible, as are the stern windows of a spacious quarter gallery. That gallery is nowhere to be seen on the oddly well-preserved stern of the ship found on the Island, nor are the gun ports. The image is most likely a ship from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series. Also note that the ship on the image is actually out of the water and somehow mysteriously resting on its keel.
  • The picture at the top of the Black Rock web page on Sam's laptop is actually a famous painting by J.M.W. Turner called "Slave Ship (Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying, Typhoon Coming On)". It is based on a real-life event known as the Zong Massacre which took place in 1781. The Zong is the name of the British slave ship in the picture.
  • Portsmouth, the port the Black Rock sailed out of, is also the birthplace of Charles Dickens and a brand of cigarettes seen in Lost.
  • Alfred Nobel did not invent dynamite until 1866. In "Ab Aeterno", the Black Rock is shown to have set sail on her final voyage in 1867.
  • Sawyer, using the alias "Jim LaFleur", told Horace Goodspeed that his group crashed on the Island while on a science expedition to find the Black Rock. ("LaFleur")
  • Alvar Hanso is the financial backer of the DHARMA Initiative.

References

  1. Schück, H. and Sohlman, R.(1929). The Life of Alfred Nobel. London: William Heinemann Ltd.

External links

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