The Mutiny on the Bounty:
A Chronology
September 9, 1754
William Bligh is christened in Plymouth, England.
September 25, 1764
Fletcher Christian is born in Cumberland, England.
February 1775
The West India Committee, a group of merchants and property owners, proposes introducing breadfruit, first discovered in the South Pacific in 1748, to the West Indies.
William Bligh serves as sailing master aboard the Resolution on Captain Cook's final voyage to Tahiti, new Zealand, and other points in the Pacific.
February 14, 1779
William Bligh witnesses the murder of Captain Cook by natives on Hawaii.
Fletcher Christian has his first sea experience as master's mate on the Eurydice, a warship sailing to India.
February 1787
Prime Minister Pitt formally announces to the West India Committee that the British government will sponsor an expedition to the South Pacific to retrieve breadfruit for eventual transplanting in the West Indies.
June 1787
Secretary of State Sydney announces the purchase of a ship, to be called "the Bounty" and to be commanded by Lt. Bligh, which will voyage to the South Pacific.
August 16, 1787
William Bligh's commission as commanding officer of the Bounty commences.
October 9, 1787
The Bounty is taken out of the River Thames by a pilot on the first leg of what will prove to be an historic journey.
Early November, 1787
Bligh arrives in Spithead, England to await sailing orders for the vessel Bounty.
November 28, 1787
Bligh takes the Bounty out to sea, but is forced to anchor on the Isle of Wight because of bad winds.
December 23, 1787
After weeks of delays, the Bounty finally departs England.
February 17, 1788
While in Teberife (Canary Islands), Bligh sends a letter to Joseph Banks, the man most responsible for organizing and supporting the Bounty's voyage.
May 24, 1788
After a futile attempt to round the stormy Cape of Good Hope, the Bounty arrives at Cape Horn, on the southern tip of Africa.
October 26, 1788
The Bounty arrives in Tahiti.  Bligh soon sets about his mission of arranging for the gathering of breadfruit.  Most of the men of the Bounty soon are taken into the homes of Tahitians and settle into routines.
January 5, 1789
Three crewmen of the Bounty desert. The three men are eventually rounded up and, upon Bligh's orders, flogged on February 2.
April 5, 1789
The Bounty, under Bligh's command and loaded with breadfruit plants, leaves Tahiti en route for England.
April 21, 1789
Bligh and Fletcher Christian exchange harsh words.  Christian tells Bligh, "I have been in hell for weeks with you."

April 27, 1789

Bligh confronts officers, who he blames for taking coconuts from the Bounty's stash.  Bligh, according to one eyewitness account, tells Fletcher Christian and other officers, "I'll sweat it for you rascals.  I'll make half of you jump overboard before  we get through Endeavor Straits."

April 28, 1789

The mutiny on the Bounty: Around dawn, Bligh is seized while sleeping by a gang of mutineers.  Bligh and other loyalists are set to sea in a 24-foot launch.  For the next 48 days, Bligh and his men will battle hostile natives, ferocious storms, and dwindling provisions before arriving in Coupang, Dutch East Indies.
May 24, 1789
The Bounty anchors off Tubuai (350 miles south of Tahiti) with its crew intending to stay there, but sails again a week later for Tahiti, then returns again to Tubuai, where it remains for three months.
July 1789
Bounty mutineers fight with Tubuaians over women and property, leaving 66 Tubuaians dead.

August 20, 1789

Bligh and his entourage leave Coupang in a purchased schooner, the Resource, bound for Batvia in Java.  After making their way to Batvia on October 1, Bligh and his entourage will, two weeks later, board the Dutch East Indiaman, the Vlijt, bound for the Cape of Good Hope and Holland.
September 21, 1789
The Bounty, under the command of Fletcher Christian, drops 16 shipmates at Matavai Bay, Tahiti, and then departs Tahiti for the last time.
January 15, 1790
The Bounty, with 9 mutineers and 11 Tahitian women, six Tahitian men, and one child arrive at Pitcairn Island.  After possessions and goods are removed from the Bounty, it is set on fire.
March 13, 1790
William Bligh returns to England and word of the mutiny on the Bounty begins to spread around the nation.
Early November 1790
The ship Pandora, commissioned to journey to the South Pacific and retrieve as many of the Bounty mutineers as possible, departs England.
March 23, 1791
The Pandora arrives at Matavai Bay, Tahiti, where a large group of mutineers remain.
April 3, 1791
The last of fourteen fugitives in Tahiti are rounded up and broad on board the Pandora.
May 8, 1791
The Pandora leaves Tahiti with the Resolution, a schooner belonging to the mutineers, in tow.  For the next three months, the Pandora travels around the South Pacific in a futile search for the other party of mutineers.
August 29, 1791
The Pandora, on its way back to England, hits ground and sinks on a reef between New Guinea and Australia.  The surviving men take to liveboats and begin sailing toward Coupang in the Dutch East Indies.
September 16, 1791
The survivors of the Pandora's sinking, after drinking the blood of birds and their own urine, arrive in Coupang.

October 6, 1791

Captain Edwards (formerly commander of the Pandora) and his crew and prisoners depart Coupang on a Dutch ship.

October 30, 1791

The ship carrying the captured Bounty mutineers arrives on the north coast of Java where, miraculously, the Resolution, the ship built by mutineers and which had been lost with a small crew four months earlier in stormy seas, is found.
December 25, 1791
The Dutch ship Vreendenburg leaves Batvia with 27 officers and men of the Pandora and ten surviving captured mutineers.
April 5, 1792
Captain Edwards, some of his crew, and the captured mutineers board the British man-of-war, the Gorgon,  at the Cape of Good Hope for the final leg of the voyage back to England.
May 1, 1792
A prayer book (with "not a leaf of it defaced") belonging to a convict is found in the belly of a shark caught off the side of the Gorgon.  [Not critical to the chronology, but interesting, don't you think?]
June 19, 1792
The Gorgon, carrying the ten men who will soon face charges of mutiny, anchors at Spithead, England.
September 12, 1792
The court-martial of ten Bounty mutineers begins on the Duke in Portsmouth, England.

September 18, 1792

Twelve post-captains return their verdicts in the Bounty court-martial.  Six of the ten are convicted and sentenced to be "hanged by the neck."  Mercy is recommended for two (Peter Heywood and James Morrison).  Four other defendants (Morman, Coleman, McIntosh, and Byrn) are acquitted.
October 26, 1792
Heywood and Morrison learn that they have received a full and unconditional pardon from the king.
October 29, 1792
Three convicted mutineers (John Millward, Thomas Ellison, and Thomas Burkett) are hanged on the Brunswick.
According to one plausible account, Fletcher Christian is murdered by a Tahitian male while digging in his field on Pitcairn Island.  (Other accounts place Christian's murder somewhat later--as late as 1797.)
February 1808
An American sealer, the Topaz, lands on mischarted Pitcairn Island.  A double canoe with three young English-speaking men come to greet the ship.  Pitcairn Island is discovered to be home to a colongy of 35 persons--the widows and offspring of Bounty mutineers and one surviving mutineer, Alexander Smith.
December 7, 1817
William Bligh dies at the age of 64.
Mutineer John Adams dies at age 66 on Pitcairn Island.
William Purcell, the last surviving officer of the Bounty, dies.
Mauatua, the Tahitian wife of Fletcher Christian, dies on Pitcairn Island.
Trial of the Bounty Mutineers Homepage