Mutiny on the Bounty

  •                      Mutiny !


    Reports are coming in to The Bridge Newsroom of a mutiny on HMS Bounty.

    The exact cause of the mutiny is unclear, but the eye witnesses claim that Captain Bligh’s  harsh and brutal treatment of his men is a possible explanation

    What do we know about Captain William Bligh.



    William Bligh was born in Plymouth on September 9th 1754, and joined the Navy as young man aged 15.


    He has had a ‘colourful’ career, and was personally selected by Captain James Cook to be the sailing master of the Resolution on his second voyage around the world between 1772-74.


    Bligh has seen service in many naval battles and last year was chosen by Sir Joseph Banks to command HMS Bounty.


    Analyst at the admiralty have commented  on allegations from the crew of the Bounty   that Bligh was a harsh and cruel taskmaster, and chief mate Fletcher Christian became, as did other members of the crew, increasingly mutinous over the course of their journey.


    What do we know about the Bounty

    We know the ship had orders to collect breadfruit trees from Tahiti, and take them to the West Indies as a food source for the African slaves there. Tahiti was a beautiful place and when the time came to leave the island, the crew were understandably reluctant to say their goodbyes.


    Improper Conduct


    It appears that the crew had been beguiled by the charms of the Tahitian women,  which made the harsh conditions of the Bounty doubly difficult to stomach.


    In April 1789, a mutiny involving many of the sailors took place; their ringleader was Fletcher Christian. The result of this was that Captain Bligh and eighteen of his loyal crewmembers were put in an open boat, and set adrift in the Pacific by the mutineers.



    Brilliant Sailor


    He may have been a tyrant on-board ship but Captain Bligh was a brilliant seaman.

    After a journey of almost 4,000 miles in an open boat, Bligh brought his men safely to shore in Timor in the East Indies, quite a staggering feat of navigation considering that they had been set adrift without charts.

    It is not known what happened to the ship Bounty after the mutineers reached Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific in 1790.

    It is known however, that a little later some of the mutineers returned to Tahiti and were captured and punished for their crime. The ones that stayed on Pitcairn Island formed a small colony and remained free under the leadership of John Adams.


    It is not clear what happened to Fletcher Christian. It is thought that he, along with three of the other mutineers, may have been killed by the Tahitians.