62 Facts About Captain James Cook


James Cook was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the British Royal Navy, famous for his three voyages between 1768 and 1779 in the Pacific Ocean and to New Zealand and Australia in particular.

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Captain James Cook made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific, 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.

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Captain James Cook saw action in the Seven Years' War and subsequently surveyed and mapped much of the entrance to the St Lawrence River during the siege of Quebec, which brought him to the attention of the Admiralty and the Royal Society.

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Captain James Cook mapped lands from New Zealand to Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean in greater detail and on a scale not previously charted by Western explorers.

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Captain James Cook surveyed and named features, and recorded islands and coastlines on European maps for the first time.

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Captain James Cook displayed a combination of seamanship, superior surveying and cartographic skills, physical courage, and an ability to lead men in adverse conditions.

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Captain James Cook was attacked and killed in 1779 during his third exploratory voyage in the Pacific while attempting to kidnap the ruling chief of the island of Hawai?i, Kalani?opu?u, in order to reclaim a cutter taken from one of his ships after his crew took wood from a burial ground.

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Captain James Cook was the second of eight children of James Cook, a Scottish farm labourer from Ednam in Roxburghshire, and his locally born wife, Grace Pace, from Thornaby-on-Tees.

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In 1745, when he was 16, Captain James Cook moved 20 miles to the fishing village of Staithes, to be apprenticed as a shop boy to grocer and haberdasher William Sanderson.

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Historians have speculated that this is where Captain James Cook first felt the lure of the sea while gazing out of the shop window.

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Captain James Cook was taken on as a merchant navy apprentice in their small fleet of vessels, plying coal along the English coast.

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Captain James Cook attended St Paul's Church, Shadwell, where his son James was baptised.

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Captain James Cook has no direct descendants – all of his children died before having children of their own.

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Captain James Cook then joined the frigate HMS Solebay as master under Captain Robert Craig.

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Captain James Cook surveyed the northwest stretch in 1763 and 1764, the south coast between the Burin Peninsula and Cape Ray in 1765 and 1766, and the west coast in 1767.

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Captain James Cook's maps were used into the 20th century, with copies being referenced by those sailing Newfoundland's waters for 200 years.

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For its part, the Royal Society agreed that Captain James Cook would receive a one hundred guinea gratuity in addition to his Naval pay.

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Once the observations were completed, Captain James Cook opened the sealed orders, which were additional instructions from the Admiralty for the second part of his voyage: to search the south Pacific for signs of the postulated rich southern continent of Terra Australis.

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Captain James Cook then sailed to New Zealand where he mapped the complete coastline, making only some minor errors.

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Captain James Cook sought to establish relations with the Indigenous population without success.

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At first Captain James Cook named the inlet "Sting-Ray Harbour" after the many stingrays found there.

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The crew's encounters with the local Aboriginal people were mostly peaceful, although following a dispute over green turtles Captain James Cook ordered shots to be fired and one local was lightly wounded.

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Captain James Cook named the island Possession Island, where he claimed the entire coastline that he had just explored as British territory.

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Captain James Cook's journals were published upon his return, and he became something of a hero among the scientific community.

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Captain James Cook's son George was born five days before he left for his second voyage.

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On his first voyage, Captain James Cook had demonstrated by circumnavigating New Zealand that it was not attached to a larger landmass to the south.

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Captain James Cook almost encountered the mainland of Antarctica but turned towards Tahiti to resupply his ship.

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Captain James Cook then resumed his southward course in a second fruitless attempt to find the supposed continent.

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On his return voyage to New Zealand in 1774, Captain James Cook landed at the Friendly Islands, Easter Island, Norfolk Island, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu.

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Captain James Cook discovered and named Clerke Rocks and the South Sandwich Islands.

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Captain James Cook then turned north to South Africa and from there continued back to England.

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Captain James Cook's log was full of praise for this time-piece which he used to make charts of the southern Pacific Ocean that were so remarkably accurate that copies of them were still in use in the mid-20th century.

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Captain James Cook reluctantly accepted, insisting that he be allowed to quit the post if an opportunity for active duty should arise.

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Captain James Cook's fame extended beyond the Admiralty; he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society and awarded the Copley Gold Medal for completing his second voyage without losing a man to scurvy.

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Captain James Cook travelled to the Pacific and hoped to travel east to the Atlantic, while a simultaneous voyage travelled the opposite route.

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Captain James Cook unknowingly sailed past the Strait of Juan de Fuca and soon after entered Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island.

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Captain James Cook headed northeast up the coast of Alaska until he was blocked by sea ice at a latitude of 70°44' north.

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Captain James Cook then sailed west to the Siberian coast, and then southeast down the Siberian coast back to the Bering Strait.

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Captain James Cook became increasingly frustrated on this voyage and perhaps began to suffer from a stomach ailment; it has been speculated that this led to irrational behaviour towards his crew, such as forcing them to eat walrus meat, which they had pronounced inedible.

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Captain James Cook's arrival coincided with the Makahiki, a Hawaiian harvest festival of worship for the Polynesian god Lono.

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Captain James Cook attempted to kidnap and ransom the King of Hawai?i, Kalani?opu?u.

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Captain James Cook was first struck on the head with a club by a chief named Kalaimanokaho?owaha or Kana?ina and then stabbed by one of the king's attendants, Nuaa.

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Some of Captain James Cook's remains, thus preserved, were eventually returned to his crew for a formal burial at sea.

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On his second voyage, Captain James Cook used the K1 chronometer made by Larcum Kendall, which was the shape of a large pocket watch, 5 inches in diameter.

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Captain James Cook succeeded in circumnavigating the world on his first voyage without losing a single man to scurvy, an unusual accomplishment at the time.

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Captain James Cook tested several preventive measures, most importantly the frequent replenishment of fresh food.

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Captain James Cook became the first European to have extensive contact with various people of the Pacific.

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Captain James Cook correctly postulated a link among all the Pacific peoples, despite their being separated by great ocean stretches.

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Captain James Cook theorised that Polynesians originated from Asia, which scientist Bryan Sykes later verified.

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In New Zealand the coming of Captain James Cook is often used to signify the onset of the colonisationwhich officially started more than 70 years after his crew became the second group of Europeans to visit that archipelago.

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Captain James Cook carried several scientists on his voyages; they made significant observations and discoveries.

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Captain James Cook later became Governor of New South Wales, where he was the subject of another mutiny—the 1808 Rum Rebellion.

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George Vancouver, one of Captain James Cook's midshipmen, led a voyage of exploration to the Pacific Coast of North America from 1791 to 1794.

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Henry Roberts, a lieutenant under Captain James Cook, spent many years after that voyage preparing the detailed charts that went into Captain James Cook's posthumous atlas, published around 1784.

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The 250th anniversary of Cook's birth was marked at the site of his birthplace in Marton by the opening of the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum, located within Stewart Park.

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Also named after Cook is James Cook University Hospital, a major teaching hospital which opened in 2003 with a railway station serving it called James Cook opening in 2014.

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The Royal Research Ship RRS James Cook was built in 2006 to replace the RRS Charles Darwin in the UK's Royal Research Fleet, and Stepney Historical Trust placed a plaque on Free Trade Wharf in the Highway, Shadwell to commemorate his life in the East End of London.

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In 2002, Captain James Cook was placed at number 12 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.

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In 1931, Kenneth Slessor's poem "Five Visions of Captain Cook" was the "most dramatic break-through" in Australian poetry of the 20th century according to poet Douglas Stewart.

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Australian slang phrase "Have a Captain Cook" means to have a look or conduct a brief inspection.

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On 1 July 2021, a statue of James Cook in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, was torn down following an earlier peaceful protest about the deaths of Indigenous residential school children in Canada.

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Robert Tombs defended Captain James Cook, arguing "He epitomized the Age of Enlightenment in which he lived" and in conducting his first voyage "was carrying out an enlightened mission, with instructions from the Royal Society to show 'patience and forbearance' towards native peoples".

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