Matthew Quintal

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Matthew Quintal (baptised 3 March 1766 as Mathew Quintril, Padstow, Cornwall – 1799, Pitcairn Island) was a Cornish able seaman and mutineer aboard HMS Bounty. His surname was, in all probability, the result of misspelling the Cornish surname "Quintrell". He was the last of the mutineers to be murdered on Pitcairn Island. He was murdered by Ned Young and John Adams, leaving them the last two men alive on the island.

Following the mutiny led by Fletcher Christian, the Bounty was taken to Tahiti for a few days before being compelled to set sail. Quintal joined Christian and seven other mutineers. They took with them eleven Tahitian women and six men. After months at sea, the mutineers discovered the uninhabited Pitcairn Island and settled there in January 1790. It was Quintal who burned the Bounty in order to prevent any return, and as a safety precaution, to avoid having the ship give away their location to the British Navy. After three years, a conflict broke out between the Tahitian men and the mutineers, resulting in the deaths of all the Tahitian men and five of the Englishmen (including Fletcher Christian). Quintal was one of the survivors.

One of the other survivors, William McCoy, discovered a means of distilling alcohol from one of the island's fruits. He and Quintal quickly descended into alcoholism, often bullying the surviving women. McCoy committed suicide by jumping off a cliff in a drunken frenzy. After McCoy's suicide, Quintal threatened to kill the rest of the community. The other two surviving men, Ned Young and John Adams, subsequently killed him with an axe during one of his drunken stupors.

Quintal's descendants reside on Norfolk Island to this day. A descendant, Malcolm Champion, was a swimmer in the 1912 Summer Olympics, becoming New Zealand's first ever gold medalist.


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