Mary Ann Christian, Exercising Social and Spatial Agency: An Isolated Island Case




Albert, Donald

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Mary Ann Christian (1793-1866) was the only daughter of chief Bounty mutineer Fletcher Christian and his Tahitian consort Mauatua who settled on Pitcairn Island in 1790. After a violent first decade, and one death to a natural cause, the male population was reduced to a sole male survivor – John Adams. This created a female- dominated milieu within which Many Ann Christian operated with a strong degree of agency across social hierarchies involving island and empire actors, and spatially with her on- and off-island movements. While still a teenager, Mary Ann Christian became the inspiration for Mary Russell Mitford’s exquisite protagonist in Christina: The Maid of the South Seas: A Poem (1811). Almost three decades later, Lieutenant Lowry visiting from the Sparrowhawk dubbed her a cantankerous “old maid” for her concern that girls aged 13, 14, and 15 were too young for marriage; male dominance had reasserted itself. Primary and other credible sources, including demographics, document the events surrounding Herstory.


Article originally published in Shima


Female Agency, Isolated Populations, Mary Ann Christian, Pitcairn Bible, Pitcairn Island


Albert, D. P. (2022). Mary Ann Christian, Exercising Social and Spatial Agency: An isolated island case. Shima, (Advanced Publication), 1–15. 10.21463/shima.140