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About James R. Cook
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James R. Cook

About James R. Cook

An Interview with James R. Cook

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James Cook was born in Marton, Yorkshire, in 1728, the son of an agricultural labourer. Apprenticed to a Whitby shipowner, he joined the Navy in 1755, becoming master in 1757. Cook led three expeditions to the Pacific Ocean. The first, from 1768 to 1771, as Lieutenant in the Endeavour; the second, from 1772 to 1775, as Commander in the Resolution, accompanied by the Adventure; and the last, from 1776 until his death in 1779, as Captain in the Resolution, accompanied by the Discovery.

Cook did more than any other navigator to add to our knowledge of the Pacific and Southern oceans, circumnavigating and charting New Zealand, surveying and claiming the east coast of Australia, exploring the extent of Antarctica, visiting Tahiti and discovering island groups like New Caledonia and Hawaii. He died on 14 February 1779, in Hawaii, after being forced to turn back during his attempt to find a passage around the north coast of America from the Pacific. The inhabitants of the island, while friendly to begin with, killed Cook when he landed to recover a stolen boat.

Cook wrote in great detail about his voyages, to begin with for the eyes of the Admiralty, but then, having been upset by the authorized account published by Dr John Hawkesworth, with a view to his work being read by the public. His first, and only, publication, was A Voyage Towards the South Pole and Round the World (1777).

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