James Cook

A great explorer

Who was

Captain James Cook was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy. He lived in the XVIII centuary .Cook made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean, during which he achieved the first recorded European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, and the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand.


James Cook was born on 27 October 1728 in the village of Marton in Yorkshire and baptised on 3 November in the local church of St. Cuthbert. He was the second of eight children of James Cook, a Scottish farm labourer, and his locally born wife, Grace Pace. In 1736, his family moved to Airey Holme farm at Great Ayton, where his father's employer, Thomas Skottowe, paid for him to attend the local school. In 1741, after five years schooling, he began work for his father, who had by now been promoted to farm manager. In 1745, when he was 16, Cook moved 20 miles (32 km) to the fishing village of Staithes, to be apprenticed as a shop boy to grocer William Sanderson. Historians have speculated that this is where Cook first felt the lure of the sea while gazing out of the shop window.

After 18 months, not proving suitable for shop work, Cook travelled to the nearby port town of Whitby to be introduced to friends of Sanderson's, John and Henry Walker. Cook was taken on as a merchant navy apprentice in their small fleet of vessels, plying coal along the English coast. His first assignment was aboard the collier Freelove, and he spent several years on this and various other coasters, sailing between the Tyne and London. As part of his apprenticeship, Cook applied himself to the study of Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Navigation and Astronomy, all skills he would need one day to command his own ship.

His three-year apprenticeship completed, Cook began working on trading ships in the Baltic Sea. In 1755, within a month of being offered command of this vessel, he volunteered for service in the Royal Navy, when Britain was re-arming for what was to become the Seven Years'war.

Cook married Elizabeth Batts (1742–1835) on 21 December 1762 at St. Margaret's Church in Barking. The couple had six children: James, Nathaniel, Elizabeth, Joseph, George and Hugh. When not at sea, Cook lived in the East End of London.

The travel

he did 3 travels:

  1. The expedition sailed from England on 26 August 1768, rounded Cape of Horn and continued westward across the Pacific to arrive at Thaiti on 13 April 1769, where the observation of Venus transity were made. However, the result of the observations was not as conclusive or accurate as had been hoped. Once the observations were completed, Cook opened the sealed orders which were additional instructions for the second part of his voyage: to search the south Pacific for signs of the postulated rich Southern continent of Australia. Cook then sailed to New Zealand and mapped the complete coastline, making only some minor errors.

  2. In the second travel he went in the continental part of the Australia to explore it.

  3. On this his final voyage, Cook was trying to find a route from the Pacific to the Atlantic round the top of North America. He was again on board the Resolution while the accompanying ship this time was the Discovery. After observing an eclipse of the Sun from an island Cook named Christmas Island, Cook and his crew became the first Europeans to find the Hawaiian Islands. At first all went well, but later after a departure and an emergency return for repairs disaster struck and Cook was killed by the islanders on 14 February 1779.