Bligh, William (1754–1817), an English naval officer who was the victim of two mutinies. Bligh was sailing master for Captain James Cook on his second voyage around the world (1772–74). In 1787, he took command of HMS Bounty on a voyage to Otaheite (now Tahiti) to obtain breadfruit trees, a species of tropical fruit that Bligh had discovered while with Captain Cook. The famous mutiny on the Bounty occurred in 1789 during the return leg of this voyage. Bligh and 18 loyal crew members were put in an open boat, which they sailed 3,600 miles (about 5,800 km) to Timor Island in the Indian Ocean.
In 1805, Bligh became governor of New South Wales, Australia, then a prison colony. Military officials who objected to his efforts to put a stop to general corruption and the sale of liquor to prisoners mutinied and imprisoned him for a time. Although a harsh commander, Bligh distinguished himself in battle and was made a rear admiral in 1811 and vice admiral in 1814.