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Breadfruit History

Breadfruit 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.

“regarding food, if a man plant 10 (breadfruit) trees in his life he would completely fulfill his duty to his own as well as future generations…”

April 28th, 1789 marks one of the most infamous events in history that happened all because of breadfruit: The Mutiny on the Bounty. Still fascinating more than two centuries later, the story includes a mutiny, a grand sailing adventure pitting men against the sea, and a reviled captain whose name is synonymous with tyranny and pettiness. 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