ADAMSTOWN (Pitcairn Island)
Home to the original mutineers of the Bounty, Adamstown’s is today the capital of all four Pitcairn Islands. The islands – the last British Overseas Territory in the Pacific – include the namesake Pitcairn Island itself, plus the uninhabited Oeno, Henderson and Ducie. Pitcairn is the archipelago’s only inhabited island, with the population of just 50 centred in Adamstown.
It is no surprise that the nine mutineers along with six Tahitian men, 12 Tahitian women and one child stopped on Pitcairn in 1790; with its sloped and varied landscape, lush tropical promise and equidistant location between Peru and New Zealand, Pitcairn would have seemed an ideal hiding spot for the mutineers to settle. The ship was burnt to avoid detection (the ballast stone remains of the wreck in Bounty Bay). However, the ideal bucolic life that mutineer leader Fletcher Christian had envisaged was not to be. Poor treatment of the Tahitian men led to alcoholism, chaos and carnage and by 1800 only John Adams – who had recently discovered Christianity – remained. Adams taught the women and children to read and write from the bible. The capital is named after him.
Not only had the island been misplaced on early maps of the region, but it can also be very difficult to come ashore as large breakers tend to build up just in front of the small harbour of Bounty Bay. The local museum houses the HMS Bounty Bible, the same bible that Adams taught the women and children to read and write from in the early 19th century.