Mutiny on the Bounty

Mutiny on the Bounty

Reading Comprehension for April 28

Today marks the anniversary of an event that sparked the imaginations of many people. The details of the event have been dramatized in a number of movies over the years. On the 28th day of April in the year 1789, a group of men declared mutiny against their captain and took control of his ship, the HMS Bounty.

The captain was William Bligh. His ship had set sail from England in December of 1787. The plan had been to pick up a cargo of breadfruit saplings in Tahiti and deliver them to the West Indies. After the ten-month journey, Bligh and his crew arrived in Tahiti, where they enjoyed the tropical island paradise for more than five months. Eventually it was time to resume work, and the Bounty set course for the West Indies with its cargo.

Trouble began brewing. Captain Bligh was arrogant and harsh - probably not as bad as he has been depicted in the movies, but a difficult man to serve, nonetheless. Fletcher Christian was his master's mate; he was second in command and had been Bligh's friend. Yet something moved Christian to lead 25 members of Captain Bligh's crew in a mutiny against the captain. On April 28, 1789, Christian took control of the ship and set Bligh and 18 loyal supporters adrift in an overcrowded, 23-foot-long boat, abandoning them in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The mutineers must have expected them to perish. We'll come back to their story later.

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