Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Pitcairn Island was discovered by Midshipman Robert Pitcairn on 03 July 1767


On 03 July 1767, Pitcairn Island was discovered by Midshipman Robert Pitcairn, who was serving aboard the British sloop HMS Swallow. This discovery is notable in the history of the Pacific Ocean's exploration and the eventual settlement of the island.

Key Points about the Discovery of Pitcairn Island:

  1. Robert Pitcairn:

    • Midshipman Robert Pitcairn was part of the crew under the command of Captain Philip Carteret.
    • At the time of the discovery, Pitcairn was only 15 years old.
    • He sighted the island on 03 July 1767, during the HMS Swallow's circumnavigation of the globe.
  2. HMS Swallow:

    • The HMS Swallow was a sloop of the Royal Navy.
    • Captain Philip Carteret led the voyage as part of a larger expedition to explore the South Pacific.
  3. Pitcairn Island:

    • Named after Robert Pitcairn, the island is one of the four volcanic islands forming the Pitcairn Islands group in the southern Pacific Ocean.
    • It is a remote island located roughly halfway between New Zealand and Peru.
  4. Historical Context:

    • The discovery of Pitcairn Island added to the European knowledge of the Pacific region, which was still being extensively explored in the 18th century.
    • The island later became famous as the refuge of the mutineers from HMS Bounty, led by Fletcher Christian, who settled there in 1790 along with their Tahitian companions.
  5. Settlement by the Bounty Mutineers:

    • In 1790, nine mutineers from the HMS Bounty, along with 18 Tahitian men and women, settled on Pitcairn Island.
    • The descendants of the Bounty mutineers and their Tahitian companions still inhabit the island today, making it one of the world's smallest and most isolated communities.


The discovery of Pitcairn Island by Robert Pitcairn is a noteworthy event in the history of exploration. It represents the era's spirit of adventure and the gradual charting of the vast Pacific Ocean by European explorers. The island's subsequent settlement by the Bounty mutineers added to its historical intrigue, making it a unique and enduring story in maritime history.

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