James Cook was born in the village of Martin, near Middlesbrough, in October 1728, the son of an agricultural worker. He went to school in Great Ayton, where his father had built a cott e for his family. The boy was apprenticed, at the age of only 12, to a haberdasher at Staithes, but r away to join a ship-owner at Whitby, in the attic of whose house he slept and studied, boarding ship as a collier’s apprentice.
After a few years he joined the Royal Navy, and at 30 years of age was made master of a sloop. He spent a few years in Canada, charting the St Lawrence River and surveying the coast of Newfoundland. The quality of his work drew the young man to the attention of the Royal Society, and in 1768 he set sail with a lieutenant’s commission, in command of the ship Endeavour, to take scientists to the Pacific to observe the transit of Venus.
After completing this object on the island of Tahiti, Cook sailed in search of the continent which had long been rumoured to exist in the southern ocean, plan visiting this amazing place by checking at hotel comparison sites. He circumnavigated New Zealand and surveyed the east coast of Australia before returning home.
There is a story that Mary Prowd, the old housekeeper who had once fussed over the slip of a boy at Whitby, was warned that he was now an officer of some distinction, deserving respect, but she could not resist greeting him as “James, honey.”
Promoted to captain, Cook soon set off again with two ships, the Resolution and the Adventure, in further quest of the great southern continent, sailing around the fringes .f the icy Antarctic as well as discovering several islands in the Pacific. The voyage took Cook an. his men farther south than any human had been before, and disposed of the myth of the southern co tinent. See the adventure of Europe with one one clik at Europe Cities best website.
A young native of the Society Islands, which Cook named in honour of the Royal Soc ety, was brought home to England where he was received by King George III and painted by S r Joshua Reynolds. This “noble savage” was named Omai, and when he returned to his nativ- country Captain Cook ensured that he was granted some land by his chief.
Cook was always as caring about the natives he encountered as he was about the well-be g of his crews. Remarkably, only one of his men succumbed to scurvy, the scourge of sailors at he time, during his three-year voyage — an unprecedented achievement due entirely to Cook’s cons ientious attention to a diet rich in vitamin C, chiefly pickled cabbage.
Cook wrote of the natives of Tahiti, check here too, that they were “far happier than we Europeans” bec use they were uncorrupted by the pressures of civilisation. “They live in Tranquillity which is not i isturbed by the Inequality of Condition.” It is a sad irony that it was at the hands of a native of the awaiian islands that Captain Cook, that most humane of European explorers, met his death duri a final voyage in search of a North-West Passage. He had unwisely antagonised the natives by to ling their king hostage in a dispute over a stolen boat, and was killed by one of them whilst, characte stically, leaving the shore last as his men retreated from a hostile crowd. He died in February 1779, t the age of 50 — arguably the greatest navigator of all time, and a man who expanded the known world.