Join 3,424 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Scrutiny on the Bounty.
July 17, 2002 4:15 PM   Subscribe

Scrutiny on the Bounty. After investigating a single rape charge, a British prosecutor assigned to Pitcairn Island, the refuge of the Bounty mutineers, began interviewing young girls. Now 20 Pitcairn men may be charged; the island's entire population is just 44. (Most Pitcairners were removed to Norfolk Island, near Australia, in the 19th century; despite the precarious existence, some descendants returned to Pitcairn and have insisted on remaining.) The primary defense is that the island was following Polynesian customs with an age of consent as young as 12; but many Pitcairners are indistinguishable from European expats, and many spend much of their lives in New Zealand or Australia for school or work. Until recently the island's inhabitants {official site} mainly worried about underpopulation and economic isolation despite touting a communal, agrarian lifestyle. "It's like a small English town," said a teacher who spent two years there. "But you can't get away."
posted by dhartung (4 comments total)

 
Lord of the Flies anyone? I remember visiting lots of small islands(30-40 people) off the coast of Ireland where there was no police and the bars opened whenever they wanted and I thought that was heaven. Now I'm worrying.
posted by Zootoon at 5:09 PM on July 17, 2002


Warning: self-link! I'm the Dallas reporter mentioned in the first link. If anyone's interested, the stories I wrote after visiting the island in 1999 are here. (The "dwindling days" story is the main piece; the rest are sidebars.)

It's a sad, sad story. One note, though: the "20 men" who may be charged includes current and former Pitcairners. There are many more Pitcairners who live in Wellington and Auckland, New Zealand, than who live on the island, because so many people have left in the last few decades. (The population peaked in the 1930s at around 230 people.)
posted by crabwalk at 7:21 PM on July 17, 2002


Warning: self-link! I'm the Dallas reporter mentioned in the first link. If anyone's interested, the stories I wrote after visiting the island in 1999 are here. (The "dwindling days" story is the main piece; the rest are sidebars.)

It's a sad, sad story. One note, though: the "20 men" who may be charged includes current and former Pitcairners. There are many more Pitcairners who live in Wellington and Auckland, New Zealand, than who live on the island, because so many people have left in the last few decades. (The population peaked in the 1930s at around 230 people.)
posted by crabwalk at 9:23 PM on July 17, 2002


Crabwalk: good point, I should have made that more clear. The number of current residents to be tried is unspecified other than leaving too few to man both longboats. Apparently some of the charges go back as much as 20 years, and the victims are themselves scattered.

I believe I read your stories; somebody like Jorn Barger blogged them back in the day. I remembered hearing the rape story, but most of this was new to me. And I've had a longstanding interest in enclaves and exclaves, whose lives may be made easier by modern transport and communications advances, but whose raison d'etre often disappears as well.
posted by dhartung at 11:06 PM on July 17, 2002


« Older "Don't dip your oar in this sordid sea, Dick. You ...  |  Meta Incognita Peninsula, Anyo... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments