One Window Into 18th Century Has Just Closed

Landing on Pitcairn Island - Bounty Bay in 1970's

Landing on Pitcairn Island – Bounty Bay in 1970’s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am an inveterate reader of the reader of the New York Times.  Every day I manage to find some small moments to dig in and see what’s going on in the world, across the United States, or even just in New York.  Quite often I find a story that appeals to my many interests.  Today’s offering was a window into 18th century Colonial history as well as the adventure stories of my youth.  I remember when I was a kid being given a tattered cheap paperback copy of  the original 1932 novel The Mutiny On The Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall.  It joined other treasured adventure books.  Favorites included copies of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, and Mister Roberts by Thomas Heggen.  I pored through all of those books, drinking in the rich details of bygone eras.

Imagine my surprise today to see that the original mutineer on the HMS Bounty, Fletcher Christian, had a great-great-great-grandson who was well know enough to get almost a half page obituary in the New York Times.  Fletcher Christian’s descendent, Tom Christian, died over a month ago at the ripe old age of 77.  At the time of his death, he still lived on, and in fact was the most well-known voice of, Pitcairn Island, part of the Pitcairn archipelago, Britain’s last colonial possession in the South Pacific.  Pitcairn Island’s only real claim to fame, at least in the positive sense, is as the final resting place of the HMS Bounty.  It has, according to the Times, a “permanent population” of 51 people and survives on quarterly supply deliveries and sale of baskets, honey, stamps, and trinkets (carved from wood they harvest on one of the uninhabited islands of the Pitcairn archipelago).

If you didn’t have a chance to read this obit, it is well worth your time to catch a glimpse of a vastly removed time in history.  Indeed, the famed mutiny took place in 1789.  To read the article, go here.

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