Descendants of the Mutiny on the Bounty on Pitcairn Island Part 1

About the desendants of the Mutiny on the Bounty on Pitcairn Island led by Fletcher Christian in an effort to build a utopia.

Descendants of the Bounty Mutineers on Pitcairn Island

For nearly 2 centuries descendants of the famous Bounty mutineers have labored for their existence on an isolated pinhead of volcanic rock in the southeastern Pacific Ocean--Pitcairn Island. Fletcher Christian selected this remote, inaccessible spot as a safe hiding place from the British search parties which were sure to be sent out when news of the mutiny reached England.

On April 28, 1789, the day of the mutiny, H.M.S. Bounty was returning homeward after having been in Tahiti almost 6 months. (The mission there was to obtain plantings of the breadfruit tree for West Indies plantation owners seeking a cheap food supply for their native workers.) Some say that the Bounty crew became homesick for the good life they had enjoyed in Tahiti and found Captain Bligh's discipline increasingly intolerable. In any case, Christian and his fellow mutineers cast Bligh and 18 loyal crew members adrift in a small boat. Their journey in the overcrowded boat and their eventual return to England is a well-known story of survival against incredible odds.

As for the mutineers, Christian sailed the Bounty to Tahiti, where 16 of the men chose to stay. But Christian, together with 8 other mutineers, 6 Tahitian men, and 12 women, sailed the Bounty to Pitcairn. They ran her onto the rocks, stripped her of all usable material, and then on January 23, 1790, they burned her.

The marooned little group began what Fletcher Christian envisioned as an idyllic, peaceful existence--an island utopia. However, problems plagued the group almost immediately, owing in part to the unequal proportion of men to women. Within 4 years, 5 of the mutineers were dead, including Fletcher Christian, as were all of the Tahitian men. Edward Young, who died of asthma in 1800, was the 1st to die of natural causes. Only 10 years after the landing, John Adams (alias Alexander Smith) was the sole surviving male, with 11 women and 23 children.

"I had a dream," Adams related, "that changed my whole life. There seemed to be standing beside me an angel who spoke to me, warning me of my past life, and then he called me to repent and go down and teach the children in the way of the Christian's Bible." Whereupon Adams, together with Fletcher's oldest son, searched through Christian's sea chest and found the Bible and prayer book Fletcher's mother had given him years before. These became texts in the school Adams started. Hence, under the benevolent guidance of a penitent mutineer, the settlement began to develop into a peaceful society.

The outside world 1st learned of its existence in 1808 when Capt. Mayhew Folger aboard the American ship Topaze sighted the island and stopped to look for seals. To his great amazement, a small boat paddled out from the island and 3 young men hailed him "in perfect English," requesting him to land there as they had a white man ashore. Captain Folger reported his find, but the discovery of Fletcher Christian's hideaway made no impression on an England preoccupied with the Napoleonic Wars. It was 7 more years before 2 British naval ships discovered the island quite by accident, and again their astounded captains were met by English-speaking young men.

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