James Cook Biography

James Cook (1728 – 1779) – explorer, voyager, discoverer and map-maker who had two travels around the world.

He was born in Marton of Yorkshire in October 27, 1728. He begun going to school when his family moved to Great Ayton. After five-years study he worked on his father’s farm. He became ship boy when he was 18 years old. His first expedition was trip from London to Newcastle. All free time he spent to self-education. He studied maps, astronomy, geography and mathematics. He entered to serve in Royal Navy in 1755 by preferring sailor’s hardwork to position of captain on private vessel. He participated in The Seven Years’ War and later he retired army but continued to make maps. For successful work he was assigned as captain of "Newfoundland" vessel. He went back to England in 1762. There he got married with Elizabeth Butts.

But his most significant achievements are three his voyages when he considerably improved maps accuracy. His first voyage had been lasted since 1768 till 1771. As skillful sailor Cook was assigned as captain of the only “Endeavour” vessel. The command went to Taiti in 1769 where they established peaceful relations with aborigines. There Cook made his astronomical researches. Later the command went to New Zealand and after this to Australia shores. The vessel was damaged by reefs but it continued to move up to the strait near New Guinea. After repair in Indonesia Cook went to Capetown and then back to London.

His second voyage had been made since 1772 till 1775. This time two “Resolution” and “Adventure” vessels were assigned. This voyage began in July 13, 1772. Antarctic Circle was firstly passed in January 1773. During one of the storms vessels lost each other and they met only in Queen Charlotte Sound. Then the team visited Taiti and Friendly Islands. Vessels diverged again near New Zealand and “Adventure” went back to London while Cook continued his trip. He crossed Antarctic Circle, visited Easter Island, Marquises Islands, Taiti, Friendly Islands; he discovered New Caledonia, South Georgia and went back to London.

His third voyage had been made since 1776 till 1779. Expedition was started on two “Discovery" and “Resolution” vessels on summer in 1776. Kerguelen Island was discovered by command. Then expedition arrived to Tasmania, New Zealand and to Friendly Islands. After this Cook discovered Christmas Island and Hawaii. The vessels passed over western shore of Northern America and went to Alaska. After crossing of Arctic Circle they went to Chukchee Sea. Then command turned to Aleut Islands and then to Hawaii. There Hawaiians’ attitude to seamen became hostile, and on February 14, 1779, he was killed in one of the fights despite the fact that Cook did his best to maintain peaceful relations.