If you go through any list of legendary maritime explorers of all time, you are sure to find Captain James Cook’s name. He was a renowned explorer and cartographer, who changed how the West perceived the world. His keen eye for details, excellent mapping skills, and use of innovative scientific methods distinguished him from other explorers of his time. But there is a lot more to Captain Cook. Read on to find out ten facts about Captain Cook.
1. Birth and Early Life
Captain James Cook belonged to a humble village in Yorkshire, England, and was born on November 7th, 1728. His parents belonged to Scotland, and the family later settled in the town of Great Ayton. At the age of 34, Captain Cook married Elizabeth Batts, and the couple had six children together.
2. The Pivotal Moment in Life
The life-changing moment in Captain’s life was at the age of 16. This was the time when he first decided to move away from his home and settle in a nearby village of Staithes that was around 20 miles away from his hometown. This place was known for fishing and fishers, and it was there that the Captain first experienced his passion for the waters.
3. Joining the Royal Army
Unlike other marine recruits who join the Royal Navy at an early age, Captain Cook joined the Royal Navy at the age of 26 as an ordinary seaman. But his exceptional talent got the attention of his superiors, and within two years, he was promoted to ship’s master.
4. First Voyage with An Astronomical Mission
As Captain Cook set out for his first expedition in 1768, his voyage had an astronomical mission. The objective was to help determine the distance of the Earth from the Sun, so he set out to observe the Transit of Venus in the Pacific Ocean.
5. Expert Map-Making Skills
What distinguished Captain Cook from most of the other seafarers of his time was his excellent map-making skills. He rose as a prominent cartographer during the war between the British and the French. Later his map-making skills became a critical tool as he went out to explore the seas.
6. Sailing Around New Zealand
After his first expedition with an astronomical mission, the Captain was given the task to explore the hypothetical land Terra Australis. Though he couldn’t discover the continent that we now know as Australia but he became the first European to travel along the coastline of New Zealand.
7. Won Against Scurvy
Scurvy was a huge health concern for sailors in the 17th and 18th centuries. The maritime crew which was sent on the ships for months often suffered and died due to this condition. But there was a Captain who saved all his crew from this disease. It was perhaps one of the most notable accomplishments of Captain Cook was that he didn’t lose a single man on the ship due to scurvy on his second expedition. As a result, he was awarded the Copley Medal in 1776.
8. Unexpected Murder
Despite his unbeatable success as a marine Captain, he was unfortunately killed in Hawaii. However, the locals performed the same funeral rites as that of their tribal chiefs. He was respected even among the people who killed him.
9. Early Death of Descendants
Though Captain Cook and his wife had six children, all of them died young. His five sons and only daughter didn’t live long enough to have their own children, so Captain Cook has no direct descendants. Only his wife outlived the Captain and her children and died at the age of 93.
10. The James Cook Collection
You can find the Cook Collection at the Australian Museum located in Sydney, Australia. It is a collection of all the items Captain Cook collected on his voyages. There is an assortments of artifacts and documents that remained with the Captain on his sea journeys.
You can find the Captain Cook Monument at the Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island, Hawaii. To plan a trip to the monument, contact Kona Directory now.