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Mutiny is a conspiracy among members of a group of similarly-situated individuals (typically members of the military; or the crew of any ship, even if they are civilians) to openly oppose, change or overthrow an authority to which they are subject. The term is commonly used for a rebellion among members of the military against their superior officer(s), but can also occasionally refer to any type of rebellion against an authority figure.

During the Age of Discovery, mutiny particularly meant open rebellion against a ship's captain. This occurred, for example, during Magellan's famous journeys around the world, resulting in the killing of one mutineer, the execution of another and the marooning others, and on Henry Hudson's Discovery, resulting in Hudson and others being set adrift in a boat.



Most countries still punish mutiny with particularly harsh penalties, sometimes even the death penalty. Mutiny is typically thought of only in a shipboard context, but many countries' laws make no such distinction, and there have been very many notable mutinies on land.

Particular countries

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, until 1689 mutiny was regulated by Articles of War, instituted by the monarch and effective only in a period of war. In 1689, the first Mutiny Act was passed, passing the responsibility to enforce discipline within the military to Parliament. The Mutiny Act, altered in 1803, and the Articles of War defined the nature and punishment of mutiny, until the latter were replaced by the Army Discipline and Regulation Act in 1879. This, in turn, was replaced by the Army Act in 1881.

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