HMS Bounty

Captain Bligh's mission to carry breadfruit from the Pacific to the Caribbean was a quintessential imperial scientific undertaking. It was transporting foods around the Empire in order to see if food from one part of the world could be grown on an industrial plantation scale on the other side. The first mission ended in disaster when the crew rebelled over the cramped living conditions in a ship that was ill converted to ferry the breadfruit. The mutineers departed for the isolated Pitcairn island whilst Captain Bligh managed a remarkable feat of navigation by getting his 18 loyal crewmen to sail 3,618 miles to the safety of the Dutch colony of Timor. A second mission in a specially designed ship was far more successful in moving the breadfruit.


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by Stephen Luscombe