Captain James Cook Summary Essay

Capitan James Cook was born in 1728 in England. When he was seventeen years old, he moved to the coast. He became the apprentice of a merchant and ship owner. Cook enlisted in the British Royal Navy in 1755. At this time, England and France were in the verge of war. He assisted an army surveyor who was assigned to map the territory they acquired. Cook was good ant this so he spent the rest of the war mapping Quebec and the St. Lawrence River. Cook was assigned to map the coast of Newfoundland after the war ended.

Because of his talent of maping making, the government decided to send Cook to a voyage to the Pacific. This expedition was officially designed to observe the transit of Venus; however, there was a second motive, to search for Terra Australis. At that time people believed that Terra Australis was a continent in the southern latitudes. The expedition sailed from Plymouth, England, in 1768. The crew headed for Tahiti. Tahiti was perfect for observing the transit of Venus.

Tahiti became an important site for rest on Cook’s voyages. After he finished his observation he started searching for Terra Australis. He navigated around the islands of New Zealand and he also sailed the entire length of Austria’s Easter coast, something never seen by a European. Cook returned in July 1771. Cooks second voyage began in 1772. The purpose of this voyage was to find out if Terra Australis really existed. They sailed around the Cape of Good Hope and then headed south toward the Antarctic Ocean.

Cook spent the winter months searching for island that previous navigators had found. In 1774 they returned to the tropics where they searched for other island that previous explorer had talked about. This voyage was important because Cook could prove that Terra Australis didn’t exist. On his third voyage, Cook wanted to tackle another great mystery, the Northwest Passage across North America. Since the beginning they encountered many problems.

In New Zealand the local people killed and ate a small group of his men. After leaving Tahiti, they headed north. They became the first Europeans to sight the Hawaiian Islands. After they left they ran into a storm that damaged one of the ships. They returned to Hawaii and the local people stole one of the ship’s boats. Cook took the chief hostage and one of the islander killed Cook. The rest of the crew managed to get back to their ships. The expedition failed to discover the Northwest Passage.