On April 27, 1789, a criminal act took place that led to one of the most amazing ocean voyages in history, as well as numerous books, films and popular songs. The criminal act was a mutiny on a British Royal Naval ship, the HMS Bounty. Fletcher Christian led the revolt against his commanding officer, William Bligh.
According to the stories, the mutineers were attracted by the idyllic life they had discovered on the Pacific island of Tahiti and were repelled by the alleged cruelty of their captain. They took over the ship, put Bligh and those loyal to him on a small boat, burned the Bounty until it sank and settled down to enjoy life in a tropical paradise, many with native women they married.
Bligh and his 18 crewmen set off on what became a 3,618-mile voyage. Guided only by a sextant and a pocket watch, Bligh led his men to the closest British outpost he could find: Timor Island in the Dutch East Indies. Only one crewman was lost during the voyage. John Norton was stoned to death by natives of Tofua, where they had stopped for provisions. Bligh then returned to England and reported the mutiny.
Novelists and filmmakers have been fascinated with the story ever since.