Eventful History of the Mutiny and Piratical Seizure of H.M.S. Bounty by Sir John Barrow


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On December 31 1787, the HMS Bounty, a small sailing vessel embarked from Spithead Harbor, England bound for Tahiti. Her mission was sponsored by the Royal Society in London and aimed at picking up breadfruit plants and fruit from Tahiti and conveying them to the West Indies, where it was hoped they would take root and become a commercial crop. The Bounty was an old ship with a young captain and 46 young officers. The captain's cabin was converted into a potting shed for the expected breadfruit cargo. He was quartered in a cramped cabin next to the men. In Tahiti, the crew suddenly found themselves transported into an exotic land, rich with strange and delicious fruits and food, country made liquor and beautiful women. The easy and relaxed lifestyle enticed the Englishmen. As the date of departure neared in 1789, the crew seemed reluctant to leave. Tensions increased as the relationship between the captain and crew began to break down. What followed became one of the most sensational events in seafaring history. The Eventful History of the Mutiny and Piratical Seizure of HMS Bounty by Sir John Barrow is deemed as the definitive account of the entire horrific episode. It follows the entire case as it happened, starting with the Bounty sailing from Spithead, and includes detailed descriptions of Tahiti, the events on board the ship as recounted by survivors, the trial of the mutineers in 1792 and narratives provided by others who escaped to Pitcairn Island. Original documents and papers are the mainstay of this book and they provide riveting reading. Captain Bligh's epic voyage with a handful of loyal crew in an open raft across the East Timor Sea to the Dutch East Indies, where he sought help and then traveled back to England also makes fascinating reading. Captain Bligh was meticulous in maintaining accurate records of every event that happened. The mission logs are perfect down to the last detail. Interestingly, the wreck of the Bounty was discovered in 1957 off Pitcairn Island, by Luis Marden, an American photographer and diver who worked with National Geographic. Several films and books on the subject have ensured that the tragic history of the Bounty remains fresh in people's memories, generation after generation. The 1962 Hollywood film Mutiny on the Bounty is perhaps the best known, with Marlon Brando cast as Fletcher Christian who led the mutineers. The Eventful History of the Mutiny and Piratical Seizure of HMS Bounty recounts a fascinating piece of history and is a great experience to read.

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