James Cook’s Historic Voyages

To explore the South Pacific, Captain James Cook began his voyage from England. He covered more than 30,000 miles (48,000 km) in three years.

James was an English navigator, explorer, cartographer, and naval officer in Britain. He was born in 1728 and died in 1779. He claimed the east coast of Australia for Britain and discovered several Pacific islands.

He made three major voyages between 1768 and 1779. Before that he made detailed maps of Newfoundland, a large island situated off the eastern coast of the North America and Canada.

The First Voyage (1768-71):

It was a scientific voyage to the Pacific Ocean to observe and record the transit of Venus in 1769. The ship used for this expedition was HMS Endeavour.

Transit of Venus generally takes place when the Venus passes directly between and a superior planet. It becomes visible against the solar disk and can be seen as a small black dot moving across the face of the Sun.

He charted the coasts of New Zealand and New Zealand Guinea. He also the east coast of Australia and claiming it for Britain.

The Second Voyage (1772-75):

It was another scientific expedition of Cook by the Royal Society as a commander to New Zealand. It was the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand. It was intended to search for the hypothetical Terra Australis. Terra Australis was believed to lie further south of Australia in those days.

The ship used was HMS Resolution for this voyage. James Cook called her “the ship of my choice”, and “the fittest for service of any I have seen”.

The Third Voyage (1776-79):

It was to Australia.

HMS Resolution was again commanded by him in his last voyage. The main purpose of this voyage was to locate a Northwest Passage (NWP) around the American continent. NWP is the sea lane along the northern coast of North America through Canadian Arctic waterways. James Cook was killed in his third voyage in a skirmish with indigenous people in Hawaii.

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