Breadfruit has been an important staple crop in Oceania for more than 3,000 years. It is believed to have originated in New Guinea and the Indo-Malay region and was spread throughout the vast Pacific by voyaging islanders. Europeans discovered breadfruit in the 1500s and were amazed and delighted by a tree that produced prolific, starchy fruits that, when roasted, resembled freshly baked bread.
Sir Joseph Banks, who sailed on HMS Endeavour
with Captain Cook to Tahiti in 1769, recognized the potential
of breadfruit as a food crop for other tropical areas.
He proposed to King George III that a special expedition
be commissioned to transport breadfruit plants from Tahiti
to the Caribbean. This set the stage for one of the grandest
sailing adventures of all time. The ill-fated voyage of
HMS Bounty in 1787, under the command of Captain William
Bligh, is an extraordinary tale of mutiny, deceit, courage,
and sailing skill. Unfortunately, the hundreds of breadfruit
plants were all tossed overboard by the mutineers.
(HMS Bounty - www.lareau.org/bounty.html)