Pitcairn Island, the Bounty Mutineers and Their Descendants

A History


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About the Book

The infamous Bounty mutiny of 1790 culminated in nine mutineers taking up residence on the small Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific. Rivalry over Polynesian women soon led to homicidal strife and, by 1808, when American sealing vessel Topaz stopped at the island, John Adams was the only mutineer alive. He, however, headed what was soon discovered to be a utopianlike Christian society.
Beginning with a background look at the circumstances surrounding the mutiny, this volume contains a detailed history of the Pitcairn Islanders from the original settlement through the opening years of the 21st century. The island’s isolation is contrasted with the international attention garnered from its captivating history, making the society a one-of-a-kind historical conundrum. Helpful maps and photographs enhance the reader’s experience.

About the Author(s)

Robert W. Kirk has previously written on South Pacific history, World War II and travel. A semi-retired professor of history, he lives in Santa Rosa, California.

Bibliographic Details

Robert W. Kirk

Foreword by Herbert Ford

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 263
Bibliographic Info: 32 photos, maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014 [2008]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9384-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0498-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi
Foreword by Herbert Ford      1
Introduction: The Island as Icon      3

1. Pitcairn Discovered      9
2. Bread That Grows on Trees!      14
3. Destination Tahiti      17
4. Captain Bligh vMrChristian      25
5. The Famous Captain Bligh      31
6. With the Mutineers      37
7. An Almost Perfect Hideaway      46
8. Early Visitors: 1814–1825      52
9. Captain Beechey Learns the Bloody Details      61
10. Death of the Patriarch      70
11. Fatal Tahitian Sojourn      75
12. “The Mussolini of Pitcairn”      82
13. A Busy Port of Call: 1839–1849      91
14. Emergency Ward      99
15. Before the Separation      103
16. The Move to Norfolk Island      111
17. Return to Pitcairn      119
18. Shipwrecks and Hysteria      126
19. Pitkern and Place Names      133
20. Conversion, Constitution—and Murder      137
21. Into a New Century: 1900–1928      146
22. What Depression? The 1930s      155
23. War and a Windfall: 1939–1959      167
24. Population in Freefall: 1960–1979      182
25. Dreams of Smiley’s Millions … And a Dream Realized      199
26. Bicentennial Decade      209
27. Island on Trial      222

Chapter Notes      233
Works Cited      245
Index      251

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Very up to date”—The Pitcairn Log