On this day in 1789, the mutiny on the Bounty occurred. It is one of those sad stories where it is hard not to sympathize and also hate everyone involved. There is also the problem that it seems every historian who has tackled the subject has (understandably) come to different conclusions. So what you think about the event largely depends upon who you have read. Much better to watch the 1962 classic, Mutiny on the Bounty with Marlon Brando and Trevor Howard — ahistorical as it may be.
What I nonetheless love about the whole thing is how very civilized it was. The mutineers did not kill the captain and his supporters. They just set them in a row boat. In fact, four of the supporters couldn’t go in the boat, so they were dropped off in Tahiti. But the boat wasn’t just set adrift. It was sent with (according to Wikipedia) “150 pounds of bread, some pork, 6 quarts of rum, 6 bottles of wine and 28 gallons of drinking water.” And that explains how Bligh and his crew managed to make it to safety.
Unlike in the movie, Bligh returned to England a hero. It would seem that his reputation fell because towards the end of his life, he was appointed Governor of New South Wales. And he was so bad at getting along with people that he sparked the Rum Rebellion. I think that probably made a lot of people think that Fletcher Christian might have had more than just a little reason for his mutiny.
Happy anniversary mutiny on the Bounty!