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Captain James Cook

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Captain James Cook (1728-1779) James Cook an Englishman born in the Yorkshire village of Marton on October 27, 1728. Cook came from a poor family and was lucky to get a basic education. His father was a farmer, and at the age of 17 Cook moved to the coast, settling in Whitby and finding work with a coal merchant. Here is where he decided that a life at sea was what he wanted. When cook was 26, in 1755 Cook enlisted in the Royal Navy, serving in North America where he learnt to survey and chart coastal waters. By the time he was 19 he had been made commander of a warship. ...read more.


By the time of this expedition Cook had accomplished a number of things; he had successfully charted the St Lawrence River in Quebec. Cook's charts had helped General Wolfe and the British army to capture Quebec from the French in 1759. Cook had also observed and described an eclipse of the Sun in 1766. For the voyage Cook chose a type of vessel that he respected and knew to be sturdy and practical, the Whitby collier. His was called the Endeavour. Those onboard included astronomer Charles Green and botanist Joseph Banks. The Endeavour arrived in Tahiti in April 1769 where Green was able to observe the transit of Venus. ...read more.


They then visited New Zealand and Tahiti and returned home to England in 1775. Cooks third and final voyage was to find the North-West Passage that was believed to link the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Cook again took the Resolution and another Whitby collier, the Discovery. After coming to a wall of ice in the Arctic, Cook turned south again and explored the island of Hawaii where he found that he was treated as a god by the islanders. But relationships were soured after the theft of a ships boat. When Cook tried to take the king hostage after the theft, the islanders became alarmed and during a struggle Cook was stabbed and killed on 14 February 1779. Captain Clerke took command of the ships, but he too died on the voyage and Lieutenant Gore finally brought the ships home. ...read more.

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