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The names William Bligh, Fletcher Christian, and the Bounty have excited the popular imagination for more than two hundred years.
Here is the full text of Captain Bligh's personal journal entries aboard the Bounty.
The tale of this infamous mutiny began near the island known today as Tonga: the crew of the HMS Bounty, led by Fletcher Christian, mutinied in the Friendly Islands in the South Seas, while sailing for the Pitcairn Islands on April 28, 1789.
Just before dawn on April 28, five men led by Christian pulled Bligh from his quarters in a bloodless coup.
The mutineers offered Bligh and eighteen men loyal to Bligh a 23-foot craft. They were allowed food and water for a week, four cutlasses, a quadrant and a compass, but no charts, or marine chronometer.
Bligh took charge of the 23-foot longboat, and the voyage that followed would be his finest hour.
He carefully rationed the boat’s measly supplies and over a period of 48 days, navigated his craft some 3,600 miles to the Dutch colony of Timor with minimal navigation aids, and without losing a man.
It was a miraculous feat of navigation rarely matched in maritime history.
Bligh returned to London a hero, but was intent on vengeance—mutiny being after all, a capital offense. He urged the admiralty to send ships to hunt down the “villains” and eventually a number of mutineers were captured and hanged.
WILLIAM BLIGH (1754-1817) Vice Admiral of the of the British Royal Navy is best remembered for the historic mutiny which occurred during his command of HMS Bounty in 1789; Bligh and his loyal men made a remarkable voyage to Timor, 3,618 nautical miles (6,701 km; 4,164 mi), after being set adrift in Bounty's launch by the mutineers.