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Captain William Bligh

Born in 1754 at St Tudy between Bodmin and Camelford. The family moved to Plymouth and he joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman. In 1772 he went with Captain Cook on his second voyage round the world and proved himself to be a good navigator and mapmaker.

In 1787 he was chosen to command The Bounty on a voyage to the Pacific to bring breadfruit to the Caribbean, where they were wanted to provide cheap food for the plantation workers.. The Bounty expedition was a disaster, the ship was a converted merchant vessel and was too small. There was a large crew including scientists, and they needed storage space for the cargo of breadfruit that they had to carry. Some of the sailors were known trouble makers, and Bligh did not get on with some of the officers and petty officers. By the time they reached the Pacific attempts to maintain discipline had led to mutiny, and Bligh and those crew loyal to him were cast adrift in a a longboat. In spite of the fact that he had little food and only basic navigational instruments, Bligh sailed the longboat over 3500 miles of open sea to Timor. At the time it was the longest known voyage in an open boat. News of the mutiny was sent to London. Bligh was not blamed for the mutiny, and in 1794 was given the Society of Arts medal for the 42 day longboat voyage. in 1801 he was made a fellow of the Royal Society for services to navigation and botany. He fought in a number of sea battles including The Battle of Copenhagen, where he was personally thanked by Nelson for bravery.

In 1805 he was appointed governor of the colony of New South Wales. In 1808 there was a small revolt against taxes imposed by England, and Bligh was deposed and imprisoned for two years until military reinforcements arrived from England to restore order. Again Bligh was not blamed, and was promoted to Admiral. He is buried in Lambeth in London.





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