Cook, Captain James
b. 1728-10-27
d. 1779-02-14
In 1778, Captain James Cook, who extensively surveyed the Pacific Ocean during several voyages between 1768 and 1779, became the first European to land at Nootka Sound; while there, Cook recorded astronomical observations, cut spars for ship masts, and traded for otter furs with the local Indegenous peoples.1
In 1746, at the age of 17, Cook apprenticed with a Quaker shipowner and spent nearly nine years on the dangerous waters of the North Sea before he enlisted in the Royal Navy and quickly rose up the ranks.2
Cook spent several years on the north-east coast of North America during the Seven Years' War, involved both in combat and as a surveyor.3 Cook embarked on his first expedition to the Pacific, a voyage to record the movement of Venus across the face of the sun, in May 1768.4 On this voyage, as well as his 1772 and 1776 voyages in the Revolution, Cook made immeasurable contributions to the early maps of the Pacific Ocean.5
In January 1779, while moored at the Hawai'ian Islands, which Cook refered to as the Sandwich Islands, he was involved in an altercation with a group of Hawai'ians, who killed Cook and four marines.6
  • 1. Andrew C. F. David, Cook, Captain James, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Ibid.
  • 6. Ibid.
Mentions of this person in the documents
Places in this document

Hawaiʻian Islands

Nootka Sound