James Cook – interesting facts

October 10, 2010 | In: Famous Explorers

James Cook was one of the first people to sail in and chart and navigate the Bay of Islands.

James was a British navigator and one of the World’s greatest explorers. He commanded three voyages to the Pacific Ocean and sailed around the World twice. He went on to become the first European to visit Hawaii and Australia’s East coast.

Cook was a man of great ambition and curiosity who was born in Marton, England, near York. On his first voyages, he worked aboard ships that carried coal to English ports. He joined the British Navy in 1765, during the French and Indian war. He carried out a dangerous wartime mission in 1759, when he entered French territory in Canada to survey the St. Lawrence River for the navy. His charts contributed to the British capture of the French city of Quebec later on that year.

In 1768, the navy appointed Cook to lead a scientific expedition to Tahiti, a Pacific Island. His ship, the “Endeavor”, sailed from England in August and reached Tahiti in April, 1769. There, the scientists on the expedition watched the planet Venus pass between the sun. This observation was the main goal of the voyage.

In October, Cook became the first European to visit New Zealand. In April 1770, the “Endeavour” sailed into Botany Bay on the east coast of Australia. Cook claimed the entire coast for Great Britian. He returned to England in July 1771 without developing an outbreak of scurvy ( a disease that had long plagued sailors ). He was the first ship commander to prevent this disease.

In July 1772, Cook left England on the Resolution in another attempt to find the southern continent. He sailed farther south than any other European had ever gone and faced many hazards on the way involving the cold Antartic waters. Jagged mountains of ice as high as 60 feet often blocked the way. Powerful winds blew ice towards the ships, and blinding fog increased the danger, especially at night. James circled Antartica, but ice surrounded it, which prevented him from sighting land.

In 1773 and 1774, Cook became the first European to visit a number of Pacific Islands. He arrived back in England in July 1775 and was promoted to Captain.

In July 1776, James Cook set out with two ships, the “Resolution” and the “Discovery”, the look for a possible northern sea passage between Europe and Asia. This unknown route was called the “Northwest Passage”. Cook first sailed to New Zealand. and other Pacific Islands. In January 1778, he became the first known European to reach the Hawaiian Islands.

Later in 1778, he sailed to the northwest coast of North America. He was the first European to land on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. He continued sailing up the coast, he sailed through the Bering Strait, and entered the Atlantic Ocean, but walls of ice blocked the expedition, and so Cook headed back to the Hawaiian Islands in August.

In February 1779, an islander stole a boat from the “Discovery” at Kealakekua Bay. Cook tried to investigate the theft, but was stabbed to death in a fight with islanders on February 14. The expedition returned to England in Octobor.

James Cook will always be known to the World for his great discoveries!!!

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