Bligh, William

BORN 9 Sep 1754, Tyntan, Cornwall - DIED 7 Dec 1817, London: Bond Street
GRAVE LOCATION London: St. Mary's Church, Lambeth (churchyard)

It is true that Captain Bligh travelled around the world with the great Captain Cook and had proved in that time that he was a first class seaman, but perhaps he would have been forgotten by now if it wasn't for the mutiny on his ship HMS Bounty. On 28 april 1789, just six weeks before the French Revolution started, Bligh was put in a boat by Fletcher Christian and the other mutineers. Bligh survived and Bligh Reef (off the coast of Alaska) was named after him and still bears his name. It happened to be this reef that was struck by the tanker Exxon Valdez in recent years. After Bligh had managed to return to England he was treated as a national hero and a battle ship was sent to Tahiti to arrest the mutineers, but some of them escaped to Pitcairn Island.

In 1781 he had married Elisabeth Betham and they had eight children. In 1801 he was involved in the battle of Copenhagen where the Danish fleet was almost completely destroyed. Nelson thanked him publicly and they became good friends. In 1806 he was appointed governor to New South-Wales. In 1810 he returned to England where he was promoted to admiral.

Although Bligh often sailed with the same crew (they came back to him by their own free will) his reputation suffered much as Hollywood movies often portrayed him as a tyrant.

Winkler Prins Encyclopedie (editie 1909), 1909

Blind, Karl

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 19 Apr 2020