250th anniversary of Fletcher Christian’s birth

250th anniversary of Fletcher Christian’s birth
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StampNews.com is glad to inform that Pitcairn Islands Post has issued a series of stamps dedicated to the 250th anniversary of Fletcher Christian's birth. The issue consists of five stamps that were released on the 25th of September.

Fletcher Christian was master's mate on board HMS Bounty during William Bligh's voyage to Tahiti for breadfruit plants. In the mutiny on the Bounty, Christian seized command of the ship from William Bligh on 28 April 1789.

Fletcher Christian $1.00 Christian went to sea at the age of 18, joining the HMS Cambridge on which William Bligh was sixth lieutenant. Since Christian was enrolled as just a ship's boy, it is unlikely that the two had much contact and on returning Christian was discharged Looking for employment, he used his family connection with the Bethams, the family of Elizabeth Bligh, and saw Christian join the merchant ship Britannia, owned by Elizabeth’s uncle and commanded by William Bligh. They sailed together on two voyages to the West Indies. On the first, Christian sailed as an ordinary seaman and on the second, Bligh made him second mate.

Fletcher Christian $2.10 In 1787, Christian joined the HMAV Bounty, on Bligh's recommendation, for the ship's breadfruit expedition to Tahiti and during the voyage Bligh appointed him acting lieutenant. On April 28th Christian and several of his followers entered Bligh's cabin, took him captive and soon cast him and eighteen others adrift in a small boat which took them on an epic, and now famous, 3,168 nautical mile voyage.

Fletcher Christian $2.80 Following the mutiny, Christian attempted to build a colony on Tubai but being unsuccessful he returned briefly to Tahiti where he married a local chief’s daughter, Maimiti, on 16 June 1789. While on Tahiti, he dropped off sixteen crewmen including four Bligh loyalists who had been left behind on Bounty. The remaining nine mutineers, six Tahitian men and eleven Tahitian women then sailed eastward. They headed for the uncharted Pitcairn Island where they stripped Bounty of all that could be floated ashore before setting the ship on fire and stranding themselves. Difficult times followed with the resulting sexual imbalance, combining with the effective enslavement of the Tahitian men by the mutineers, leading to insurrection and the deaths of most of the men.

Fletcher Christian $3.00 Christian, possibly the world’s most famous mutineer, was well thought of by his men. All of them saw their misfortunes as having been brought about by Bligh. There is no portrait or drawing of Fletcher Christian from a real life study. Bligh described Christian as…"5 ft. 9 in. high, blackish or of very dark complexion. Hair - blackish or very dark brown. Make - strong. A star tatowed (sic) on his left breast, and tatowed on the backside. His knees stand a little out and he may be called a little bow legged. He is subject to violent perspiration, particularly in his hand, so that he soils anything he handles".

All others who knew Christian agreed that he was handsome and of an athletic build. He seems to have been an honest and forthright man, normally with a happy and friendly disposition, very charming and liked by most on board the Bounty.

Fletcher Christian datestamp Rumours have persisted for more than two hundred years that Christian's murder may have been faked, that he had left the island and that he made his way back to England around 1808. Although highly unlikely, this claim has led to speculation that will probably never cease. Many scholars believe that the rumours of Christian returning to England helped to inspire Samuel Taylor Coleridge in writing The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

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