An Island for Mutineers

Pitcarin Island is the least populated jurisdiction in the world, but is best known as being the home of the descendants from the HMS Bounty mutineers and the Tahitians (Polynesians) that accompanied them. Their story has been recounted in several books and films.

Pictarin Island 1

Pitcairn Island was sighted by the crew of the HMS Swallow in 1767 and named for Midshipman Robert Pitcairn.  In 1790, nine mutineers from the Bounty and six Tahitians landed on Pitcairn Island and set fire to their ship, HMS Bounty. The wreck is still visible in the waters of Bounty Bay.

Pictarin Island 2

The settlers survived by farming and fishing, although there was a great deal of tension between them.  Alcoholism, murder, illness, and other ills took the lives of most of the mutineers and Tahitian men. John Adams and Ned Young took to reading the scriptures, using the ship’s Bible as their guide, and a more peaceful society was established. Young died of an asthmatic infection. The Pitcainers all converted to Christianity. After the rediscovery of Pitcairn, John Adams was granted amnesty for his mutiny.  Currently there are 47 residents on the island.

Pictarin Island 3

Our ship, Holland America’s Amsterdam, was scheduled to bring onboard a number of the permanent residents of Pitcairn Island for part of the day so that we would have the opportunity to hear a lecture, talk to them and buy some of their handmade crafts that they would bring with them.  However, the Captain announced the day before our arrival that the proposed visit had been cancelled as the majority of the island’s population was suffering from the H2N3 virus, now sweeping most of North America, and shared with Pitcairn residents by a cruise ship a couple of weeks ago.

Pictarin Island 4

The Amsterdam delivered a “care” package to the sixteen people who came out to the ship in their longboat to accept the transfer. Since the Island residents had not been able to come aboard and sell their wares to earn money, the ship’s officers, with the approval of Holland America I am sure, gave the supplies to the Islanders at no cost.

16 of the Island residents who came to pick up their care package which included some bottles of Jack Daniels.

16 of the Island residents who came to pick up their care package which included some bottles of Jack Daniels.

Back to their Island home.

Back to their Island home.


One Response to “An Island for Mutineers”

  1. We loved the color of the water around Pitcairn! Such a wonderful color of blue! Sounds like y’all are having fun . . .

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