William Bligh (1754–1817) was a British naval officer and colonial governor who is best remembered for the mutiny on the H.M.S. Bounty.
Bligh began his naval service at the age of nine. By age fifteen, he had a strong background in shipboard math. He served as the sailing master on Captain James Cook's last voyage (1776–1780). Taking command of the H.M.S. Bounty in 1787, he was commissioned to sail to Tahiti and pick up a cargo of breadfruit trees for the Indies. Alleged harsh treatment of his crew resulted in a mutiny in April 1789. Bligh and eighteen loyal crew members were set adrift in an open boat and through skillful seamanship navigated more than 3,600 miles to Timor. En route, Bligh charted part of the northeast coast of New Holland (Australia).
After the Bounty voyage, Bligh commanded a number of scientific voyages. He served under Horatio Nelson during the wars with France, and in 1805, Bligh was appointed governor of New South Wales. He died a vice-admiral.
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