Captain James Cook: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Captain James Cook.

  • Captain James Cook was an officer of the British Royal Navy, as well as a navigator and explorer. He is famous for discovering Australia.
  • He was born in 1728 near Middlesborough and first worked in a grocery store. He later moved to Whitby, working on freight ships up and down the coast of England.
  • Cook lived for a while in his parents’ cottage in North Yorkshire. The cottage was moved brick by brick to Melbourne, Australia in 1934, where it stands today.

Captain James Cook

  • The first voyage of Captain James Cook was to Tahiti and Australia from 1768 to 1771. Cook’s job was to observe the planet Venus pass in front of the sun.
  • His second voyage was in 1772 was to search for the large continent of Australia. On the voyage, Cook became one of the first men to sail across the Antarctic Circle.
  • Cook’s third voyage in 1776 was to find the Northwest passage, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific. He was killed on this voyage, in 1779 during an confrontation with some Hawaiian islanders.
  • A monument at Kealakekua Bay in Hawaii commemorates Cook’s landing there and his later death. The surrounding land was given to the United Kingdom and is technically still part of the UK.
  • Cook was the first European explorer to see and chart the eastern coast of Australia. He named many places on the coast, including Botany Bay, Cape Tribulation and Point Lookout.
  • Cook was also the first European to see many of the islands in the South Pacific.
  • He was also one of the first sailors to use a chronometer to measure time while at sea.
  • Captain James Cook is also remembered for navigating by latitude and longitude, and suggesting that the Polynesians came from Asia. He also sailed round the world without any of his crew dying from scurvy.
  • The Cook Islands in the South Pacific Ocean are named in honour of James Cook.

What next? Visit our exploration resources page to discover some facts about other famous explorers.

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