April 28 - 1789 - The Mutiny on the Bounty
The mutiny led by Acting Lieutenant Fletcher Christian against Captain William Bligh on HMS Bounty was not notable in its particulars during the actual mutiny. Christian objected to the verbal lashings he frequently received from Bligh and much of the crew agreed. Yet the fact that half of the ship's crew decided to overthrow the captain was made remarkable because both the mutineers and the loyalists made their own lives. Captain Bligh sailed in an open boat thousands of miles from Tahiti to the Dutch East Indies, where he could be taken back to England, which was a rare occurrence for anyone cast out in a ship's launch in the late eighteenth century. This fact made the mutiny a massive news story in Britain at the time, and the mutineers were hunted by another ship, HMS Pandora. The main corps of mutineers, however, had actually managed to take the Bounty to a small uninhabited island called Pitcairn Island, where, with a contingent of Tahitians, the groups created their own settlement. By the time Pitcairn was discovered, only one member of the Bounty's crew was still alive, and had instructed the Tahitians and children born on the island in Christianity.