Pitcairn Islands

Pitcairn Islands History

The Pitcairn islands were first inhabited by Polynesians way back in the eleventh century. They lived successfully there for some four hundred years and then mysteriously vanished.

The land on Pitcairn then lay fallow till it was once again inhabited near enough four hundred years later by a group of mutineers and their Tahitian companions in 1790.

The history of the Pitcairn Islands begins with the colonization of the islands by Polynesians in the 11th century. The Polynesians established a culture that flourished for four centuries and then vanished. Pitcairn was settled again in 1790 by a group of British mutineers on HMS Bounty and Tahitians.

The Bounty was captained by Captain Bligh who is reputed to have been so cruel to his crew that they were driven to mutiny after collection of breadfruits on a Royal Navy botanical mission. Fletcher Christian was the leader of the mutineers.


The first person amongst the mutineers to see Pitcairn was a lad of fifteen. They found Pitcairn by chance rather than design as they had been sailing without direction. The lads’ name was Robert Pitcairn and the mutineers named the island after him.

Since that second settlement by the mutinous crew, Pitcairn, as a British Overseas Territory, has survived rather than prospered. The island has the worlds smallest population, Pitcairners, and is only a little bigger than Monaco.

Sometime in 1825, the British Government became aware of the islanders beginning to outgrow the resources of the island, They had been told of the islanders and their history previously but gave no thought to them as the British were too busy fighting the Napoleonic Wars.

In 1855, a selection of the Pitcairn community were relocated to Norfolk Island’

The Pitcairn Islands in South Pacific Pitcairn Group are a British overseas territory. Pitcairn itself is the only inhabited island and is a volcanic outcrop, the other three islands in the group are Henderson, Ducie and Oeno.