Across The Seven Seas
Ships That Took The Swami Around
SS Peninsular (Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company)
RMS Empress of India (Canadian Pacific Steamship Company)
SS La Touraine (Compagnie Générale Transatlantique Or The French Line)
SS Britannic (White Star Line)
SS Germanic (White Star Line)
SS Prinz Regent Luitpold (Norddeutscher Lloyd)
SS Golconda (British India Steam Navigation Company)
SS Numidian (Allan Line)
SS La Champagne (Compagnie Générale Transatlantique Or The French Line)
SS Rubattiono (Navigazione Generale Italiana Or NGI)
These ships had played enormous roles during the flourishing days of passenger shipping that witnessed continuous improvements in amenities and luxuries in ocean travels. Two things are two be noted here; first, this story will follow the chronology of the Swami’s travels aboard the ships; and secondly, to add a perspective, Interludes with essential facts about the Swami in between his voyages are inserted. Acknowledgements
Vivekananda first left the Indian shore aboard the SS Peninsular on 31 May 1893 from Mumbai, the then Bombay. The ship took him to Japan. Thus begun his worldwide sea voyages across the seven seas within a total period of slightly less than five years, which finally ended on 3 December 1901 when he landed on the shores of Bombay and never went abroad anymore. Though in between his first and second Western visits he stayed in India from 15 January 1897 to 20 June 1899.
He breathed his last on 4 July 1902 when he was merely a little above 39.
Since the above sea voyages of the Swami include five transatlantic journeys, three leaving the US and two from Europe, a brief history of this famous route needs retelling.
The history of Transatlantic line goes back to 1818 when the Black Ball Line of C. H. Marshall & Co began their service from America to England. Later, with steamships appearing in 1830s, their dominance on carrying both passengers and mail became instantaneous. Since the 1850s advent of various luxuries dramatically changed the quality of passenger shipping. It is said: ‘Rain or shine, blow high, blow low, one of the Black Ball liners sailed from New York for Liverpool on the first and sixteenth of each month, and for many years these were the European mail days throughout the United States.’ As to the historical significance of this legendary route, a few lines deserve attention: ‘For a century and a half, a single most important sea lane in the world was the transatlantic route linking the Old World and the New. Governments formulated their foreign policies around it, nations’ economies were dependent on it, navies were built to protect — or interdict — it, wars were fought over it, empires rose because they controlled it, and fell because they didn’t.’
The Opening Session of the Religious Congress
The Statue of Liberty
Paris Exposition Universelle 1900
The North Atlantic between Europe and America
The Magnificent Unfathomable