July 5, 2022

A mutiny is an uprising of soldiers or sailors. Mutinies were common, especially on board sailing ships in the 16th and 17th centuries. Failure to pay was often a reason for mercenaries at this time to mutiny, sometimes followed by raids across the country. The most famous cases are probably the mutiny on the British ship HMS Bounty (1789) and on the Russian battleship Potyomkin (1905), both of which were made into films. In the Netherlands, the Spanish Fury in Antwerp (1576), the mutiny on the Nijenburg (1763) and the mutiny on De Zeven Provinciën (1933) are the best known.

Roman legions

See Mutiny Among the Soldiers


Explorers often encountered mutiny on their voyages due to poor conditions on board and unfamiliarity with the purpose and end of the voyage. Ferdinand Magellan was struck by mutiny on his journey around the world just before he discovered the strait named after him (1520), and Henry Hudson after discovering Hudson Bay and his ship became entangled in the ice (1611).


When Columbus returned to Hispaniola on his third voyage in 1498, he had to deal with a mutiny among the crewmen he had left behind on his previous voyage. Columbus failed to put things in order. The Spanish king sent an 'arbitrator', who imprisoned Columbus for misrule and sent him back to Spain.

World War I

During the First World War, a mutiny broke out among the French army in May 1917, when it was ordered to resume the offensive at the infamous Chemin des Dames under General Robert Nivelle that killed more than 100,000 people in 5 days. The outbreak of a revolution such as would take place in Russia later that year could be prevented with difficulty.


Bruin, G. de and A.J.J. van der Wal (1980), Allon's Duytsche brothers: the mutinies on the 'Nijenburg' in 1763. In: J.R. Bruijn & E.S. van Eyck van Heslinga, Mutiny. Rebellion and trial on ships of the VOC. DeBoer Maritem, Haarlem. Real account of the mutiny on the East India Company ship Nijenburg. First published in 1764. Republished and commented by Nienke de Jong, Lenoor Kuijk and Liesbeth Oskamp. Terra Incognita, Amsterdam (1992). Mollema, J.C. (1933), A Mutiny in the Eighteenth Century. H.D. Tjeenk Willink & Son N.V. Haarlem.