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James Cook

The 18th century was a time of exploration and discovery throughout the world. Every nation was sending their own explorers in search of new lands and wealth. England was a world naval power at this time, and it would be from this nation that one of the most famous explorers originated: James Cook. 
Cook was the British naval captain, navigator, and explorer who explored the seaways and coasts of Canada, and conducted three expeditions into the Pacific Ocean. He discovered the islands of New Caledonia, the South Sandwich Islands, and South Georgia in the Atlantic. He also discovered Australia in the Pacific, and would find and completely chart New Zealand.

 

Cook's contributions

Cook set new standards of thoroughness in discovery, seamanship, navigation, cartography, and the care of sailors at sea. He also set new standards in relations with the natives and in the application of science at sea. He had no deaths due to scurvy, a common problem in the 18th century. He insisted on fresh air, ventilation and cleanliness in crew's quarters. Cook saw to it that citrus fruits would be a part of his crew's diet.

Web Sites to visit

The 18th century was indeed a time of discovery and James Cook is one of the prime explorers of that time. Cook, who died in Hawaii, has many web sites devoted to him. Read a first hand account on his death, as well as excerpts from his journals, and accounts of his accomplishments.

Visit the H.M.S. Endeavor. This ship is a working replica of the original ship used by Cook on his first voyage, and is currently sailing the world as a working museum. You can read about this ship at its official web site, or view the logs of the current captain and crew or see on the map where she is now on the Endeavor Blog.

Research sources

Boorstein Daniel J., The Discoverers. Vintage press: Toronto, February 1985: pp.280-289.

Noah Tarnow, Scurvy: A short history of this medical problem of the high seas.

James Cook Voyage of the Endeavor 1768-1771: A history of his first voyage. (The Captain Cook Society website )