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James Cook

 

Date Born: 10/27/1728
Place of Birth: North Yorkshire, England

Date Died: 2/14/0
Place of Death: Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii


Captain James Cook, FRS (October 27, 1728 (O.S.) – February 14, 1779) was an English explorer, navigator and cartographer. He made three voyages to the Pacific Ocean, accurately charting many areas and recording several islands and coastlines on European maps for the first time. His most notable accomplishments were the British discovery and claiming of the east coast of Australia; the European discovery of the Hawaiian Islands; and the first recorded circumnavigation and mapping of Newfoundland and New Zealand.

A number of the junior officers who served under Cook went on to distinctive accomplishments of their own:
1) William Bligh, Cook's sailing master, was given command of HMS Bounty in 1787 to sail to Tahiti and return with breadfruit. William Bligh is most known for the mutiny of his crew which resulted in him being set adrift in 1789. (See: Mutiny on the Bounty). He later became governor of New South Wales, where he was also the subject of another mutiny;
2) George Vancouver, one of Cook's midshipmen, later led a voyage of exploration to the Pacific Coast of North America from 1791 to 1794;
3) George Dixon sailed under Cook on his third expedition, and later commanded an expedition of his own.

Cook's 11 years sailing around the Pacific Ocean contributed much to European knowledge of the area. Several islands such as Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) were encountered for the first time by Europeans, and his more accurate navigational charting of large areas of the Pacific was a major achievement.

Cook obtained accurate longitude measurements during his first voyage due to his navigational skills, the help of astronomer Charles Green and by using the newly published Nautical Almanac tables, via the lunar distance method—measuring the angular distance from the moon to either the sun during daytime or one of eight bright stars during nighttime to determine the time at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich and comparing that to his local time determined via the altitude of the sun, moon, or stars. On his second voyage Cook used the K1 chronometer made by Larcum Kendal, which was the shape of a large pocket watch, 13 cm (5 inches) in diameter. It was a copy of the H4 clock made by John Harrison, which proved to be the first to keep accurate time at sea when used on the ship Deptford's journey to Jamaica, 1761-1762.

Cook was accompanied by many scientists, whose observations and discoveries added to the importance of the voyages. Joseph Banks, a botanist, went on the first voyage along with fellow botanist Daniel Solander from Sweden. Between them they collected over 3,000 plant species. Banks became one of the strongest promoters of the settlement of Australia by the British, based on his own personal observations.

Ever the observer, Cook was the first European to have extensive contact with various people of the Pacific. He sailed to many islands near the Philippines and even to smaller, more remote islands in the South Pacific. He correctly concluded there was a relationship among all the people in the Pacific, despite their being separated by thousands of miles of ocean (see Malayo-Polynesian languages).

Cook died on the beach in Hawaii during his third voyage, during a conflict with local villagers instigated by the theft of a ship’s boat.

This article from wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Cook for the full wikipedia article.


Books by James Cook on Riapress.com

A Voyage Towards the South Pole, and Round the World. Volume I.

By: James Cook




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A Voyage Towards the South Pole, and Round the World. Volume 2.

By: James Cook




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Related Books on Riapress.com

A Voyage to the South Sea

By: William Bligh


Muntineers interrupt a breadfruit voyage, in a classic true tale of temptation, seamanship, and leadership.


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For the Term of His Natural Life

By: Marcus Clarke


The journey of a convict illustrates the penal colony roots of Australia.


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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

By: Samuel Taylor Coleridge


Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.


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