The Deaths Were Pretty Bountiful

Right, if you want a story about how Fletcher Christian was the misunderstood, brooding hero, against the dastardly William Bligh, please go watch one of the many, MANY terrible movies and TV shows that have been made about it. It’s time for you to find out about what happened after.
Let’s start in the middle, it is 1789, the mutiny has occurred, and Bligh is no longer on board, having been forced into the ship’s launch. The mutineers return to Tahiti, seeking a safe haven from English justice. They have become increasingly desperate as they already have been driven away from Tubai, leaving behind many native men and women dead. While some mutineers decided to stay at Tahiti, others led by Christian began to formulate a plan to seek their own refuge on a remote island, eventually choosing to settle on Pitcairn. It is this decision that leads to the next deaths. To make living on a remote island more comfortable they decided to lure aboard a group of Tahitians. Once they were on board the mutineers set sail, and those Tahitians who were too old or young were thrown overboard. The healthy young men were to act as servants for the Europeans and the women to be the mutineers’ wives. These women were given English names by the mutineers, in remembrance of loved ones far away. It begins a slow process eroding the women’s cultural identity and another death of sorts.
Desolate Pitcairn, scarred with signs of previous Polynesian settlement hundreds of years ago, now had a population of nine mutineers, six Polynesian men, and twelve Polynesian women. By 1808 only one man would be left alive. Of the original women two would have died of natural causes, and all except one would live out their days on Pitcairn, making tapa and caring for their twenty three children.
The violent deaths which reduced the population weren’t as simple as Polynesian against European or man versus man. Instead the first two deaths of Polynesian men by mutineers appears to have been supported by the other Polynesian men and women. The subsequent deaths of five mutineers, including Fletcher Christian was an act of revenge by the Polynesians because of floggings and mistreatment, not for the first murders. This in turn led to the four remaining Polynesian men being murdered by the mutineers, however this act was aided by the Polynesian women. Of the remaining mutineers, Quintal was killed by the mutineers for his extreme drunken violence towards the women. The rampaging violence shows the Polynesian men and women did not see themselves as a united cultural or political group. They often acted as individuals and not because of racial ties. The women had themselves conspired to murder the men, and attempted to escape the island. These unsuccessful attempts reiterates how divided the women themselves were.
We can only speak of these events with a degree of certainty because of one of these women, John Adams’ fear of the noose led him to rework the events of suit the audience when Pitcairn was rediscovered in 1808, if it wasn’t for Teehuteatuanoa (Jenny) there wouldn’t be another account to compare it with, and perhaps we would not what exactly happened in the early years of Pitcairn. Teehuteatuanoa, was the only woman to leave the island. She doesn’t have her gravestone in National Maritime Museum (http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/63109.html) , or had a lock of hair displayed alongside Lord Nelsons’ (http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/63110.html) . She is barely remembered at all, drowned out by the destructive force of the Bounty.

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