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Adamstown History, Pitcairn

Adamstown History – The First Arrivals in the Territory

The history of Adamstown coincides with that of the discovery, rediscovery and settlement of the Pitcairn Islands. These processes are believed to have started in the 15th century with the Polynesian populations, but when the Portuguese landed there in 1606 they found no inhabitants on two of the islands. They named them Encarnacion and San Juan Bautista, but when the English rediscovered the territories in 1791 they named one of the islands Ducie, which is what it is called to this day. All the four islands of Pitcairn were subsequently discovered and named after the conquerors that first set foot on them, and the administrative form was chosen in 1938, an important year in Pitcairn history, as it is when the Oeno Island was annexed to the territory.

Adamstown History – The Bounty Episode

1790 was the year when the people from the Bounty ship and their Tahitian associates landed on Pitcairn Island after a long Pacific voyage with murder and kidnappings. Once the crew landed in Pitcairn they set the ship on fire and therefore remained stranded on the island and began to populate and domesticate the territory. They survived from the land and fishing activities, but heavy unrest characterized this period in Adamstown history, as the settlers killed each other, had severe drinking problems and almost left the island unpopulated. John Adams, who eventually gave Adamstown its name, turned to the words in the Bible they had on board and successfully turned the population around converting them to Christianity and a decent moral life. In 1890 there was an Adventist mission that succeeded on the island, so currently the population of Adamstown and the whole of Pitcairn are of Adventist religious orientation. The remains of the Bounty were discovered in 1957 by Luis Marden, a National Geographic explorer, and are still in the bay and easily accessible through diving. The anchor is on display at the city hall and there is a celebration each year during which a duplicate of the Bounty is being set on fire.

Adamstown History – Population Migrations and Sex Crimes

There were several reported ships that passed by the islands after the Bounty, but none of them landed or made an attempt at exploring the territory. Pitcairn was one of the first British territories to give voting rights to women and during the mid 19th century the population reached almost 200, which forced the British authorities to move them all on Norfolk Island. The trip took five weeks and after just one and a half year seventeen of the inhabitants returned, being followed by another twenty seven five years later. They permanently remained in Pitcairn and founded the local community.

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