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On April 28, 1789, crewmembers of the British trade ship Bounty mutinied against their captain while sailing in the remote South Pacific. The mutiny has been chronicled in books, theatrical productions, and movies.
 
The Bounty had left England almost two years earlier. The ship was on a voyage to collect breadfruit saplings from the tropical island of Tahiti, in the South Pacific. The saplings would then be delivered to British plantations in the West Indies, where they would be a cheap source of food for slaves. 
 
Collecting the saplings in Tahiti took longer than expected. During the five months it took the breadfruit cuttings to grow into sturdy saplings, the Bounty’s crew became part of the local community. They enjoyed the easygoing Tahitian culture, which was a dramatic contrast to the strict—and sometimes violent—command of the Bounty’s captain, William Bligh. 
 
About a month into the Bounty’s voyage to the West Indies, a group led by Fletcher Christian abducted Bligh from his quarters. Although most of the crew remained loyal to Bligh, they were overpowered by the armed mutineers. Bligh and 18 sailors were set adrift in a rowboat, without navigational aids such as charts or compasses.
 
Bligh then proceeded to complete a spectacular feat of navigation. Using only his watch and a quadrant, he successfully navigated 6,600 kilometers (3,500 nautical miles) across the Pacific and Indian Oceans to the island of Timor, now part of Indonesia.
 
The mutineers endured different fates. Some returned to Tahiti, where they were arrested. Some died on the way back to England to stand trial, some were executed there, and others were pardoned. Christian, the leader of the mutiny, fled British authority and established a struggling community on the isolated island of Pitcairn. Today, most of the few dozen residents of Pitcairn Island trace their ancestry to Christian and other Bounty mutineers.
abduct
Verb

to kidnap or illegally take a person away.

adrift
Adjective

drifting or floating without control.

ancestry
Noun

family (genealogical) or historical background.

authority
Noun

person or organization responsible for making decisions.

cargo
Noun

goods carried by a ship, plane, or other vehicle.

Noun

type of map with information useful to ocean or air navigators.

chronicle
Verb

to report.

community
Noun

group of organisms or a social group interacting in a specific region under similar environmental conditions.

Noun

instrument used to tell direction.

culture
Noun

learned behavior of people, including their languages, belief systems, social structures, institutions, and material goods.

endure
Verb

to survive.

establish
Verb

to form or officially organize.

execute
Verb

to put to death by order of the law or in a well-planned manner.

feat
Noun

accomplishment or achievement.

isolate
Verb

to set one thing or organism apart from others.

mutiny
Verb

to overthrow authority.

Noun

art and science of determining an object's position, course, and distance traveled.

pardon
Verb

to release from responsibility for a crime or other offense.

plantation
Noun

large estate or farm involving large landholdings and many workers.

quadrant
Noun

navigational instrument similar to a sextant, used to measure the altitude of stars relative to the horizon.

rebellion
Noun

organized resistance to an authority.

remote
Adjective

distant or far away.

sapling
Noun

young tree.

slave
Noun

person who is owned by another person or group of people.

spectacular
Adjective

dramatic and impressive.

trade
Noun

buying, selling, or exchanging of goods and services.

tropical
Adjective

existing in the tropics, the latitudes between the Tropic of Cancer in the north and the Tropic of Capricorn in the south.

voyage
Noun

long journey or trip.

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