Pitcairn's Island


Pitcairn’s Island, the concluding story, is, perhaps, the strangest and most romantic. After two unsuccessful attempts to settle on the island of Tupuai (or Tubuai, as it is more commonly spelled in these days), the mutineers returned to Tahiti, where they parted company. Fletcher Christian, acting lieutenant of the Bounty and instigator of the mutiny, once more embarked in the ship for an unknown destination. With him were eight of his own men and eighteen Polynesians (twelve women and six men). They sailed from Tahiti in September 1789, and for a period of eighteen years nothing more was heard of them. In February 1808, the American sealing vessel Topaz, calling at Pitcairn, discovered on this supposedly uninhabited crumb of land a thriving community of mixed blood: a number of middle-aged Polynesian women and more than a score of children, ruled by a white-haired English seaman, Alexander Smith, the only survivor of the fifteen men who had landed there so long before.