Landmark & Views

Christian’s Cave

Pitcairn Islands / The Pacific

Fletcher’s Christian’s Cave is located on a ridge to the west of Adamstown.  Fletcher Christian (1764-93) was on board HMS Bounty during the voyage of Lieutenant William Bligh (1754-1817) to Tahiti between 1787 and 1789.  A mutiny broke out on 28 April 1789, led by Christian.  This was inspired by the sailors’ attraction to the sybaritic life on Tahiti with its sexual opportunities, and their resentment of harsh treatment by Bligh.  The mutineers set Bligh afloat in a small boat, 18 of the 22 man crew being loyal to him.  Fletcher Christian tried to establish a colony on Tubuai, but the natives opposed him.  Eventually, 9 mutineers, 6 Tahitians and 11 Tahitian women sailed to Pitcairn, stripped Bounty of all they could salvage before Matthew Quintal (1766-99) set the ship on fire.   When the American seal-hunting ship, Topaz, visited Pitcairn in 1808, only one mutineer survived, along with 9 Tahitian women, the rest having died due to insurrections, but there were children.

As to Fletcher Christian, he was said to have hidden in this cave.  He had died in 1793, but accounts of how this happened varied – some said he was murdered in conflict, some said he had been shot, others that he died of natural causes, had committed suicide, become insane or again been murdered.  Through two sons and a daughter, he left many descendants on Pitcairn and Norfolk Island as well as in Australia, New Zealand and the United States.  (Many films have been made about the Mutiny on the Bounty, with stars such as Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, Marlon Brando and Mel Gibson). 

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