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Pitcairn Island

Updated on June 14, 2011
HMS Bounty
HMS Bounty
The Mutiny
The Mutiny
Pitcairn Island
Pitcairn Island

The Mutiny

Many think Mutiny on the Bounty a work of fiction. There have been several books and movies by this name and all were based on fact.

The Bounty left England in 1787 for Tahiti. After leaving Tahiti, for Jamaica, in 1788 it was subject to a mutiny. Captain Bligh along with 18 members of his crew was set adrift on a 23ft boat. Surprisingly, they survived a 7 week, 3600 mile journey arriving safely at Timor.

After the mutiny, led by Fletcher Christian, the mutineers returned to Tahiti where 16 of the 25 men decided to stay. Christian and the other eight men, along with some Tahitians then left to look for a place they would be safe from the long arm of the British Empire.

They knew of a group of uninhabited Islands in the South Pacific that had been discovered in 1767 and sailed for them. Because of an error in the charting of the new islands, it took them sometime to find them. However on January 23, 1790 they eventually settled on Pitcairn Island.

Pitcairn is one of a group of islands officially known as Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and OneoIslands, with Pitcairn being the only inhabited one. Although the British spent 3 months searching for Fletcher and his party, due to the error of the charting of the islands, they were unsuccessful.

The islands remained undetected until 1808 when an American whaler found them. At that time, 8 of the 9 mutineers were dead, either by murder or suicide. The last remaining mutineer John Adams was leading those left in the community. In 1825 a British ship arrived at Pitcairn and Adams was given amnesty. In 1838 the PitcairnIslands officially became part of the British Empire.

Pitcairn Island
Pitcairn Island
Bounty Bay
Bounty Bay
Postage Stamps
Postage Stamps

The Island

The PitcairnIslands are the least populous and most remote judiciary in the world. Its Capital is Adamstown. Current population, 50.

The majority of the population are direct descendents from the mutineers. The population did rise to as many as 194 in1855, however this was too many for the islands 88 acres of flat land to sustain. So, Queen Victoria bequeathed the islanders, Norfolk Island, 3,700 miles to the west. In 1856, the islanders reluctantly moved to their new home. 18 months later however, 17 people returned to Pitcairn, followed by 4 more families in 1864.

The population support themselves by making postage stamps and handicrafts that they sell to passing ships. A ship visits the island 3 times a year and even then it is a difficult task, as the only anchorage is at BountyBay where ships have run aground in the past.

If an islander requires medical help, they have to wait for a ship to transport them to New Zealand 3,000 miles away.


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    • Lady Wordsmith profile image

      Linda Rawlinson 

      7 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      This is so interesting. I didn't know any of this. Reminding me yet again that I need to read more widely!


    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      It is interesting. I did know some of this but it was awhile ago that I read about it.


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