Ward's Book of Days.
Pages of interesting anniversaries.
What happened on this day in history.
Captain Cook was a navigator and explorer who conducted three expeditions to the Pacific.
was born in Marton, Yorkshire on 27th October 1728. His birthplace
is now a museum in his honour. [Captain Cook birthplace Museum, Stewart Park,
Marton, Middlesbrough, TS7 8AT] He was the son of a Scottish farm labourer and
he spent his youth working on the farms where his father was employed. Aged
18, Cook was apprenticed to a ship owner at Whitby, where he learned basic
navigation and nautical mathematics.
1752, Cook volunteered for the Royal Navy, as an able seaman, and rose to
become master’s mate, then boatswain and at the age of 29, Cook was made
master of HMS Pembroke. Cook saw action in the Seven Years War, and it
was his charting of the St Lawrence River that assisted General Wolfe to
the age of 40, Cook was sent on an expedition of the Royal Society and given
command of his own vessel, a coal-hauling bark, renamed with the grandiose
title HMS Endeavour. The mission was to find the alleged southern
continent Terra Australis, which theorists argued must exist to balance the
land masses of the northern hemisphere. Cook discovered and charted New
Zealand and, crossing the Tasman Sea, he came to the eastern shores of
Australia, where he charted The Great Barrier Reef, now reckoned to be one of
the greatest navigational hazards in the world.
sailing home, Cook was presented to king George III, promoted to commander,
and sent on an even more ambitious mission. He set sail on HMS Resolution to
discover the western section of Terra Australis. Cook sailed beyond latitude
although he discovered the Antarctic, New Caledonia and the Sandwich
he could find no trace of the mythical continent Terra
Australis. He concluded that the alleged continent did not exist and that the
only significant land mass, existing entirely within the southern hemisphere
was what is now known as Australia. On his return, Cook was elected a fellow
of the Royal Society for his outstanding achievements.
Cook was sent out on a third voyage in an attempt to find a passage around
what is now known as Canada. Cook discovered the coast of California but
failed to find a navigable passage, as one did not exist. He returned to the
Sandwich Islands, now Hawaiian Islands, where after a confrontation with the
natives, he was struck down and killed. His body was buried by the natives and
not eaten by cannibals as was once popularly supposed. Cook had made more
discoveries than any other person in history and these findings changed the
face of the globe. Cook’s bones were eventually returned by the natives for
formal burial at sea.
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