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