Captain James Cook
James Cook was born in Marton, England in 1728. In 1755 he enrolled in the British Navy, after serving an apprenticeship with a firm of ship owners. Within four years he became a master and between 1756 and 1767 he charted the North Atlantic coastal waters. In 1768 he became the lieutenant and captain of the sailing vessel Endeavour and undertook his first voyage. On this voyage to the South Pacific, Cook safely carried a group of British astronomers to the recently discovered island of Tahiti. He then proceeded to New Zealand where he took formal possession of both islands and accurately charting them. In 1770, he discovered the eastern coast of Australia which he also charted and claimed for Great Britain under the name of New South Wales where he explored and mapped Botany Bay. In 1771, on his return to England, Cook became a commander. In 1772, he set sail on his second expedition aboard the Resolution accompanied by another vessel, Adventure. This expedition was to search for the southern continent, Teras Australis. He entered the South Pacific, where he sailed along the edge of the Antarctic ice block and on January 16, 1773, he was the first to cross the Antarctic circle. In 1774, Cook discovered numerous small islands of the Pacific, including New Caledonia and Niue. After returning to England in 1775, he was awarded the Copley medal for scientific achievement. Then in 1778, he was killed during a dispute between islanders of the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii).
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