Stuart Thayer

Publication Date



The ship Bengal landed in Philadelphia in June 1821 from Calcutta. Included in its cargo was a male elephant described by a newspaper as being of "uncommon size, color and beauty." (Anonymous, 1821a). It was the third male elephant to reach America and is known to us today as Tippoo Sultan. Columbus was the first male to reach these shores, and he did so in 1817. In November 1819, Horatio was unloaded from the ship of the same name. Horatio fell through a bridge in September 1820, thus when Tippoo Sultan landed he was one of two males in the country. The males had been preceded by three females: the Crowninshield import of 1795; "Old Bet," imported by Edward Savage in 1804; and "Little Bet," imported by Hachaliah Bailey and his partners in 1817. None of these females was very large. (See also Elephant, 2(1):235—237 about first elephants). Columbus and Tippoo Sultan were both over eight feet in height and in advertisements their size was always featured.

Recommended Citation

Thayer, S. (1986). Tippoo Sultan - The Man and the Beast. Elephant, 2(2), 82-85. Doi: 10.22237/elephant/1521732018