Apr 28, 1789 CE: Mutiny on the Bounty

Apr 28, 1789 CE: Mutiny on the Bounty

On April 28, 1789, 18 crewmembers of the British trade ship Bounty mutinied against their captain while sailing in the remote South Pacific.


9 - 12


Anthropology, Geography, Physical Geography, Social Studies, World History

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On April 28, 1789, a man named Fletcher Christian led a mutiny on board the Bounty, a ship sailing in the South Pacific Ocean. A mutiny is a rebellion by a ship’s crew against its captain. The mutiny on the Bounty has been written about in books and plays, and even made into movies. The Bounty was a British ship carrying cargo from Tahiti to islands in the Caribbean Sea. William Bligh was the captain of the Bounty. He was very strict, and sometimes beat his crew for not following orders. When the Bounty reached Tahiti, Fletcher and many members of the crew wanted to stay there. Fletcher and a small group of men took control of the Bounty. They forced William and his supporters onto a rowboat and set them adrift in the ocean. The mutineers returned to Tahiti. William used his watch and a quadrant, an old-fashioned navigational tool, to sail 6,600 kilometers (3,500 nautical miles) to safety in Indonesia. He then returned to England and had a successful career as a captain. Some of the mutineers were arrested in Tahiti. Fletcher and his close friends ran away to a remote island, Pitcairn. Today, almost all Pitcairn Islanders trace their ancestry to Fletcher and the other Bounty mutineers.

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National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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