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Mutineers Paradise-Pitcairn Island

Updated on June 17, 2020

Pitcairn Island, Home of the Bounty Mutineers

Pitcairn Island
Pitcairn Island
Blight Set Adrift
Blight Set Adrift

Mutiny on the Bounty

On 28 April 1789, Fletcher Christain seized the ship Bounty waking Cpt. Wm. Blight from his bed, cutlass held to his chest. He wrestled Bligh to the deck in his nightshirt, and Bligh realized a mutiny was taking place. Bligh and 18 of his loyal crew were set adrift in a small 23-foot long boat only 6'9" wide with 32lbs pork, four cutlasses, a quadrant and compass, six quarts rum, six bottles of rum and 28 gallons of water.

The small craft was over-loaded, barely able to stay afloat, yet Bligh realized they had to reach Timor. After rationing food and water and sailing 3618 miles and 41 days at sea, they reached the Dutch port of Koepang. It was due to Bligh's tenacity and skill as a navigator they reached safety.

This would later be noted as the greatest open-boat voyage in maritime history.

Bligh Arrives in Timor

Bligh Arrives in Timor
Bligh Arrives in Timor

Bligh Arrives in Timor

Bligh and his crew arrive in Timor, nearly dead and starving. In June 1789, he departed for England to report the mutiny. Using only a sextant and a pocket watch, Bligh, with his exceptional skill in navigation, managed to sail to safety. After arriving in England, he was charged with the loss of the Bounty but was cleared of wrongdoing. He returned to Tahiti to complete his expedition to collect breadfruit trees for the West Indies.

In the meantime, Fletcher Christain and his 16 mutineers had returned to Tahiti, staying for a little while. By now, Christain needed to find an island to locate out of harm's way from being captured. Some of the mutineers decided to stay in Tahiti with their Polynesian wives. Christain left with eight of his mutineers, six Tahitian men, twelve Tahitian women to search the South Pacific for a deserted island. In January 1790, the Bounty settled on Pitcairn Island.

Pitcairn was 1000 miles east of Tahiti and 3000 miles from New Zealand. Pitcairn Island had been settled some 12,000 years ago by Polynesian natives. When Christain and his crew arrived, they destroyed the stone gods, pushing them off the cliffs into the ocean, destroyed the ancient burial sites and Polynesian artifacts. The first sighting of Pitcairn Island was by Captain Phillip Carterets on the H.M.S. Swallow, but he was unable to land because of the dangerous surf. He had miscalculated the island's position on maps.

Christain and his men constructed leaf shelters in Adamstown later replaced with more durable shelters. They planted sweet potatoes and yams. The land was divided among the mutineers with the Polynesian men receiving none. They were treated as slaves, and since more men than women, the Polynesians had to share wives.

It wouldn't be long before the tranquility and paradise would be broken. By September 1793, the Polynesian men were tired of the abuse from the mutineers and elected to kill all of them. Only four mutineers were left, Edward Young, Matthew Quintal, John Adams, and William Mccory, and ten women.

After Young died, John Adams filled his days drinking until he turned religious but found it challenging to care for his blind wife, Teio. Adams died in 1829.

Before the mutiny, Christain and Bligh were friends, but the rebellion destroyed that friendship. Christain was a dashing rebel while Bligh was a brutal, foul-mouthed captain. He was characterized as an ill-tempered, older man and never got his just due as one of the greatest navigators of all time. Movies set him out as the "bad" one and Christain as the "best."

Bligh was not sadistic but took pleasure in humiliating others, especially in front of others.

One of the most accurate books on Bligh's life is. Life of Vice-Admiral William Bligh

He uses documents and maritime records and eludes to the maligned life of Bligh.

HMS Pandora

HMS Pandora
HMS Pandora

HMS Pandora Arrives in Tahiti

In March 1791, the HMS Pandora, with Captain Edward Edwards, was sent to capture the mutineers and were met by three Bounty crew. Edwards set sail with ten mutineers to England for trial. He searched for Christain but failed to find him. Back in England and on trial, four crew were acquitted, three convicted but pardoned, and three guilty and hanged for mutiny.

Bligh and the Breadfruit Trees

Breadfruit Tree
Breadfruit Tree
Breadfruit
Breadfruit

Pitcairn Island Today

Today, Pitcairn island has a population of barely 50, and they are aging with few births to increase the community.

If you are searching for a paradise island to settle on, far removed from society, look no further. The island is a British Territory, 2170 km east of Tahiti, 1510 km west of Easter Island, and 5310 know northeast of New Zealand with lush vegetation and access only by sea.

Three voyages each quarter and 12 berths per trip. It is the most remote island in the world. The community is trying to attract new migrants to contribute to the future. If you enjoy the outdoors and a place in the natural environment, it could be your home.

There is no airport, but good phone service and the internet is available. A supply ship, the MV Claymore II for access after two nights at sea.

One can visit without a visa for 14 days with a long-term visit for six months is available.

There is a general store, a warehouse, a post office, a health clinic, a library, a museum, and a treasury.

See

Immigration.gov.pn for further details and Application for Settlement.

Pitcarin Island

Pitcarin Museum
Pitcarin Museum
Pitcarin Health Center
Pitcarin Health Center
Pitcarin General Store
Pitcarin General Store

Comments

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    • surovi99 profile image

      Rosina S Khan 

      13 months ago

      Fran, did you get my email? I mentioned about writing a new article, Part-14 for my story series, "Keily, the Bookworm". Since I didn't get feedback on it from you until now, I give the link here:

      https://letterpile.com/serializations/Keily-the-Bo...

    • powers41 profile imageAUTHOR

      fran rooks 

      13 months ago from Toledo, Ohio

      Thanks for reading. I agree, a little too isolated for me.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      13 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for the educational article, Fran. The information that you've shared is interesting. I'd love to visit Pitcairn Island, though I don't think I'd like to live there.

    • powers41 profile imageAUTHOR

      fran rooks 

      13 months ago from Toledo, Ohio

      Thanks for reading. Hope you do visit even though it is really isolated.

    • emge profile image

      MG Singh emge 

      13 months ago from Singapore

      I have had a romantic notion of this island from the great novel connected with it. I have desired to visit this place but I wonder whether I will ever be able to make it. Lovely photographs.

    • powers41 profile imageAUTHOR

      fran rooks 

      13 months ago from Toledo, Ohio

      Thanks for reading and I appreciate your comments

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      13 months ago from UK

      This is certainly an interesting island with an interesting history to go with it.

    • boxelderred profile image

      greg cain 

      13 months ago from Moscow, Idaho, USA

      Fran - fascinating story that I’d not heard or read before. Thanks for putting this educational piece together. I think I would enjoy visiting Pitcairn, but I don’t know if I could live that remotely for too long. Perhaps if I was single...

      Anyway, nice work. Enjoyed the read greatly.

    • powers41 profile imageAUTHOR

      fran rooks 

      13 months ago from Toledo, Ohio

      Thanks for reading and comments. I appreciate it.

    • surovi99 profile image

      Rosina S Khan 

      13 months ago

      It was nice to know about the little history behind Christian and his crew settling in Pitcarin island and how the island looks in modern times. Thank you, Fran for a wonderful and enjoyable article.

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