Traveling all over the Pacific Ocean, Antarctic, Arctic, and other parts of the world, James Cook was a British explorer and astronomer who saw many things and was able to put an end to a rather common disease attacking sailors during his time. In this article, you will learn more about this ambitious traveler.
James Cook (1728 , 1779)
Cook’s first adventure lasted from 1768 to 1771, as he sailed to Tahiti in an attempt to catch sight of Venus passing between the Earth and the Sun. If he were successful, he would be able to pinpoint the distance between the Earth and the Sun. During these travels, he also took the time to map the northern part of Australia. His second voyage took him to Antarctica, where he visited Easter Island. This trip lasted from 1772 to 1775.
The last expedition for Cook took place in 1776, where he desired to discover a Northwest Passage that would lead across North America to Asia. However, the brave explorer was murdered by a mob on of all days , February 14th, 1779. He was at the Sandwich Islands (in Hawaii) at the time. A mob grew angry with Cook when he attempted to kidnap a local chief and hold him hostage so that he could gain his sailboat in return. The natives had stolen it, but instead , he lost his life in the process.
In history, Cook has also gone down in the books as the first ship captain to rid their sailors of the disease known as ‘scurvy,’ which was caused by a lack of vitamin C. By providing his crew with fresh fruits, the disease was under control. In the past, scurvy was responsible for killing or slowing down a great number of sailors who endured long exploration trips.
5 Facts About Cook
1) When Cook was a teen, he joined the British merchant navy and later in 1755, became a part of the Royal Navy. During this time, he saw action in the Seven Years’ War and later surveyed and mapped the majority of the entranced to the St Lawrence River while he was a part of the siege on Quebec.
2) Cook took Elizabeth Batts as his wife and produced six children (James (1763-1794), Nathaniel (1764-1781), Elizabeth (1767-1771), Joseph (1768-1768), George (1772-1772) and Hugh (1776-1793). Elizabeth was the daughter of one of his mentors, Samuel Batts, who was also the keeper of the Bell Inn in Wapping.
3) When Cook was not at sea, he called the East End of London his home.
4) Over the years, Cook had many junior officers in his care. Some of them went on to achieve greatness on their own, including William Bligh (Cook’s sailing master), who later became governor of New South Wales; George Dixon (sailed under Cook during his 3rd expedition), who later gained command of his own adventure; and George Vancouver (one of Cook’s midshipmen), who later led an exploration team to the Pacific Coast of North America , 1791 to 1794.
5) There is a Captain Cook memorial statue located at the Catani Gardens in St. Kilda, Victoria, Australia.