Henry In Pitcairn III - The Bounty

by Anonymous (not verified) on

Under the command of Captain William Bligh, the British ship HMS Bounty set sail for the West Indies in early 1789 after 5 months in Tahiti, carrying a cargo of breadfruit plants. However the ship would never reach its intended destination, and early in the voyage the ship’s first officer, Fletcher Christian, led a mutiny against the captain on the 28th April. The exact reasons for the mutiny are debated, but it has been speculated that the crew resented the enforced departure from their idyllic Tahitian lifestyle, especially as several had formed relationships with local women during their stay. The overly harsh efforts of Captain Bligh to restore discipline after his crew’s tropical island indulgences may also have fanned the flames of disorder. Whatever the true reasons, the famous ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ sparked a chain of events which would shape the future of the rugged green island upon which I will be staying until the end of August.

Pitcairn

After setting Bligh and 18 loyal crew members adrift in an open longboat (Bligh’s miraculous survival, navigation back to land and return to England is an incredible story in itself) the mutineers, having collected their loved ones from Tahiti, sought refuge from the British navy. Under the command of Fletcher Christian the Bounty made landfall on uninhabited Pitcairn Island on 15th January 1790, and the drastic decision was taken to burn the ship, thereby destroying evidence of the mutiny and eliminating any possibility of returning home. Outbreaks of violence and disease claimed the lives of all but one of the mutineers by 1800, but their names would endure through the children they fathered with their Polynesian wives. Today, many of Pitcairn’s population can trace their lineage directly back to those who came ashore on the Bounty over 200 years ago, and the ship’s anchor is proudly displayed in the public square of Pitcairn’s only settlement, Adamstown. Roughly 50 people now live on Pitcairn permanently, and I am looking forward to getting to know this small community well during my time here. I am still forming my first impressions, trying to remember lots of names and attempting to find my way around. I will post again soon to discuss the scientific work I am aiming to do on the island hideaway of the Bounty mutineers.

Henry Duffy

Select a blog

Careers at ZSL

Our people are our greatest asset and we realise our vision for a world where wildlife thrives through their ideas, skills and passion. An inspired, informed and empowered community of people work, study and volunteer together at ZSL.

Nature at the heart of global decision making

At ZSL, a key area of our work is the employment of Nature-based Solutions – an approach which both adapt to and mitigates the impacts of climate change. These Solutions, which include habitat protection and restoration, are low-cost yet high-impact, and provide multiple benefits to people and wildlife. We ensure that biodiversity recovery is at the heart of nature-based solutions. 

ZSL London Zoo

A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo, bringing you extraordinary animal facts and exclusive access to the world's oldest scientific zoo.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Do you love wildlife? Discover more about our amazing animals at the UK's biggest zoo!

Conservation

We're working around the world to conserve animals and their habitats, find out more about our latest achievements.

Science

From the field to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.

Education

A day in Discovery and Learning at ZSL is never dull! The team tell us all about the exciting sessions for school children, as well as work further afield.

Artefact of the month

Every month, one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the Month.

Wild About

Read testimonials from our Members and extracts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine, Wild About.

Asia Conservation Programme

ZSL works across Asia, from the famous national parks of Nepal to marine protected areas in the Philippines. Read the latest updates on our conservation.

Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation

An Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.