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James Cook. The World’s Greatest Navigator. Born October 27, 1728 in Marton, England Died February 14, 1779 in Hawaii Nationality British Occupation Explorer, navigator, cartographer Title Captain Wife Elizabeth Batts (married in 1762)

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James Cook

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James cook l.jpg

James Cook

The World’s Greatest Navigator

Biography l.jpg

BornOctober 27, 1728 in Marton, England

Died February 14, 1779 in Hawaii

Nationality British

Occupation Explorer, navigator, cartographer

Title Captain

Wife Elizabeth Batts (married in 1762)

Children James, Nathaniel, Elizabeth, Joseph, George, Hugh


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Early Career

  • Joined the Royal Navy in 1755

  • Fought in the Seven Year’s War

    • Aboard the Pembroke

    • Mapped the entrance of the St. Lawrence River

    • Led to the capture of Quebec

  • Mapped the coast and harbors of Newfoundland

    • 1763 – 1767

    • Maps used for almost 200 years

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First Pacific Voyage

  • 1768 – 1771

  • Commander of the Endeavor

  • Purpose of the voyage

    • Observe the solar eclipse by Venus

    • Search for a large southern continent that was thought to exist (Terra Australis)

  • Explorations

    • Mapped the two major islands of New Zealand

    • Mapped the eastern and northern coasts of Australia

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Second Pacific Voyage

  • 1772 – 1775

  • Commander of the Resolution

  • Purpose of the voyage

    • Search for Terra Australis

    • Continent where people can live does not exist

  • Explorations

    • First person to sail around Antarctica

    • Mapped many island groups of the Pacific Ocean

    • Used the chronometer

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Third Pacific Voyage

  • 1776 – 1779

  • Captain of the Resolution

  • Purpose of the voyage

    • Search for the Northwest Passage – passage along northern coast of North America connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans

  • Explorations

    • Crossed Arctic circle but unable to find Northwest Passage

    • Discovered the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii)

    • Mapped the northwest coast of America, Alaska, and the Bering Strait

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The Death of James Cook

  • Returned to Hawaii to make repairs to his ship

  • Not welcomed by the Hawaiians

  • Hawaiians stole one of Cook’s small boats on February 14, 1779

  • Tried to take the Chief of Hawaii hostage

  • Cook hit on the head and stabbed to death by the Hawaiians

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A Man of Firsts

  • First to sail around the world in a westerly direction

  • First to sail around the world in both directions

  • First to cross the Arctic and Antarctic circles

  • First to eliminate scurvy at sea

  • First to calculate his position at sea accurately using longitude

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  • Greater knowledge of the Pacific Ocean due to his complete and accurate maps

  • Proved that crews could remain healthy with proper diet and hygiene

    • Insisted on clean quarters

    • Ventilation

    • Forced crew to eat vegetables and fruit to prevent scurvy

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Other Interesting Facts

  • Many institutions and landmarks named after James Cook

    • James Cook University

    • Cook Islands, Cook Strait, Cook crater

  • King of England wept when he heard of Cook’s death

  • Site of his death in Hawaii was given to the United Kingdom

  • Cook’s motto was Nil Intentatum Reliquit - Leave Nothing Unattempted

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  • James Cook made three famous voyages to the Pacific Ocean

  • His maps of Newfoundland and the Pacific Ocean used for almost 200 years

  • Unable to find a large, southern continent or the Northwest Passage

  • Left nothing unattempted and became the World’s Greatest Navigator

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