Pitcairn was inhabited much earlier than the Europeans discovered it. Early European travelers found here many relics of the Polynesian civilization, including stone gods, cliff faces, burial sites as well as gouges, earth ovens and stone adzes.
The Europeans first discovered the island in 1767. The crew of an Englishman, Captain Philip Carteret of H.M.S Swallow, came across the small land and named the Pitcairn Island in honor of a young man who saw it, son to Major Pitcairn. However, the sailors were unable to land and the Captain's report did not find much interest in Great Britain.
The story of European settlement on Pitcairn started when several sailors under the leadership of Fletcher Christian mutinied on His Majesty's armed ship Bounty, cast adrift the commander and eighteen officers and sailed to the Pacific Ocean in search of an uninhabited island, distant and secure from the rest of the world. On their way, the Bounty drop in Tahiti and the sailors took six Tahitian men for help and twelve Tahitian women to be their consorts.
They discovered lonely, inaccessible, warm and fertile Pitcairn in 1790 and found it ideal for a secure settlement. In fear that Europeans could notice the Bounty, they took the ship ashore and set her on fire. Fletcher Christian, a leader of the mutineers, was a well-educated and sincere man and his personality drew respect from other members of the "new community". He died several years after landing at Pitcairn, but he is still regarded as the founder of the Pitcairn community.
On arrival, the mutineers were on very friendly terms, but the community did not settle down without conflicts, and, unfortunately, murders. Four years later only four male settlers remained on the island; in 1800, John Adams became the only male representative on Pitcairn. For several succeeding years, he was the leader of the community, consisting of ten women and twenty-three children and always showed himself as a loyal, helpful and honest chief. So appeared and developed the Pitcairn community, in which the European and Polynesian styles blended in the complete isolation from the rest of the world.
The story of the Pitcairn Island does not finish on that. It continues with other European settlers, the unsuccessful emigration to Tahiti, where much of the population died due to infectious diseases, a loss of the leader, a return to their native island of Pitcairn, an introduction of first Pitcairn constitution, and other significant events that influenced the population's growth at one time and decline at another.
Although today Pitcairn has only fifty constant residents, it has a museum where you can learn its fascinating history in detail. Books and articles, written about the mutiny, and the Pitcairn Island can occupy you for hours as well as other artifacts, including Bounty relics, ancient founds and traditional crafts that are very impressive samples of Pitcairn's history.