Cook was determined to keep his crew healthy. He insisted his men eat
onions and pickled cabbage every day, and made sure that the ship kept fresh
fruit and vegetables on board. He ordered his men to bathe every day, to clean
their clothing, and to air out their bedding. He did not know the scientific
reasons behind these measures, but he knew they worked to prevent scurvy and other
diseases in his crew.
On April 11, 1769, the Endeavour arrived on the shores of Tahiti, seven weeks early. Here Cook opened a sealed
envelope with the Royal Navy's orders and he discovered that his secret mission was to find
out the fabled southern continent and claim it for England. Early mapmakers in the
1570s assumed there were two major continents at each of the earth's poles.
Dutch explorers searched for the southern continent in the seventeenth century.
Since the continents had not yet been found, the Royal Navy trusted that Cook
would find the southern one if it existed. He left Tahiti on July 13 and headed
When Cook reached New
Zealand on October 6, the native Maori
people proved to be unfriendly and his crew was forced to fire on them. The Endeavour
spent a few months exploring New
Zealand and proved it was not part of the
great southern continent. On April 9, , Cook explored and documented the
location of Australia.
While sailing around this great continent, the Endeavour ran aground on
the Great Barrier Reef (extending 150 miles from Australia's northeast coast and the
largest reef in the world) on June 11. It took a day to free the ship after the
crew threw fifty tons of ship's ballast, iron cannons, firewood, and barrels
overboard. Once free, the crew quickly made repairs to the badly leaking ship
to keep it from sinking. After months of exploring the coastline of Australia, Cook
concluded that this continent was not the great southern continent.
The Endeavour reached Java in the East Indies
in October, 1770. Once there, Cook's men became very ill with Malaria and
dysentery. Despite all his efforts to keep his crew safe and healthy, they were
no match for these diseases. He lost 30 men and had to sign on new crew in South Africa in order to make it back home to England. The Endeavour
got back to Dover, England, on July 13, 1771, after a
three-year voyage. Cook was formally presented to his majesty, King George III
following the historic journey and made a naval commander.
Picture n°1 venus
Picture n°2 James
Picture n°3 tattooed face
COOK'S SECOND VOYAGE
second voyage began on July 13, 1772 from Plymouth,
took two Whitby
colliers (refitted coal ships), the Resolution and the Adventure.
The Adventure measured 97 feet in length with 80 crewmen and scientists
aboard. The Resolution, Cook's flagship, was 111 feet in length with 110
crewmen and scientists aboard. His orders were to find the southern continent.
He plan was to search for the continent and circumnavigate the globe. He was
bound to find the fabled continent this way.
Prior to Cook's day, an accurate measurement of longitude was virtually
impossible. There was no way to determine the exact time of day, the ship's
position, and the exact time at a fixed point on shore. After 1735, a device
invented by Englishman John Harrison made this
possible. He invented a sea clock called a chronometer, which kept perfect time
under rough sea conditions. Because of this instrument, Cook was one of the
first ship's commanders to know his exact position on the globe while sailing
uncharted seas. He carried four chronometers aboard the Resolution and
ships headed south around the Cape of Good Hope and toward Antarctica.
They crossed the Antarctic circle
for the first time in January, 1773. Too much ice blocked Cook's way to find
the continent of Antarctica and eventually his
ships headed for warmer waters to the east. After stops in New Zealand and Tahiti,
Cook discovered more islands in the south Pacific. By November, 1773, the Resolution
was underway once again in search of the southern continent. After reaching the
Antarctic Circle in January, 1774, Cook had
sailed farther south than any other explorer. But he never sighted the
continent of Antarctica. Having been separated
from its sister ship, the Adventure made its way back to England. Cook
returned to warmer waters and continued explorations of the Pacific. He arrived
back in England
on July 29, 1775.
COOK'S FINAL VOYAGE
final voyage began on July 12, 1776. He was aboard the Resolution with a
crew of 112. His sister ship was the Discovery with 70 men aboard. The
purpose of his third voyage was to find the fabled Northwest
Passage. Unlike other explorers who attempted to find this area of
the world, Cook attempted a route from the Pacific side. Cook visited some of
his favorite islands in the Pacific and made stops in New Zealand and Tahiti.
January 18, , Cook sighted the Hawaiian Islands
for the first time. He named them the Sandwich Islands
after his friend, the Earl of Sandwich. The
natives rowed out to meet his ships and were very friendly. After discovering
so many islands in the Pacific where the people had a common language and
similar customs, Cook marveled at how the Polynesian people had spread
themselves from island to island. Europeans were not the only ocean-faring
people. Indeed, the Polynesians had made their own explorations thousands of
years before. The Hawaiians thought that Cook was a god and that his men were
After two weeks of trading and good relations, the ships departed
heading north. By March 7, Cook reached the coast of present-day Oregon and followed the coastline north to Alaska and west through the Bering
Strait. By August, Cook concluded there was no Northwest
Passage and decided to head for warmer waters for the winter.
January 17, , the two ships once again landed off the shores of the Hawaiian Islands. The Englishmen appeared to have worn
out their welcome with the natives. Tensions were increasing as Captain Cook
decided to depart the islands on February 4. As fate would have it, a storm
broke the foremast of the Resolution and Cook was forced to return to
the Hawaiian Islands on February 11 to make
repairs. The natives were not happy to see the visitors once again. One of the
ship's boats was stolen, and Cook took a Hawaiian chief as hostage until the
boat was returned. On February 14, Cook was heading back to his ship with his
hostage when he and his men were surrounded by shouting, angry natives. As Cook
signaled his boats off shore to come in to assist, he was stabbed in the back
by one of the natives. As he fell, dozens of natives attacked his body with
knives and clubs.
The contributions of James Cook were extraordinary. He was the first
explorer to map the coastline of Australia. He charted much of the Pacific Ocean and discovered several island groups. He
used a chronometer to chart his exact position on the globe. He was one of the
first sea captains to discover the cure for scurvy. He sailed farther south
than any other explorer before him, and he proved once and for all that there
was no Northwest Passage.