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					Captain James Cook FRS RN (October 27, 1728
(O.S.) – February 14, 1779) was an English explorer,
navigator and cartographer. He made three voyages
to the Pacific Ocean, accurately charting many areas
and recording several islands and coastlines on
European maps for the first time. His most notable
accomplishments were the British discovery and
claiming of the east coast of Australia; the European
discovery of the Hawaiian Islands; and the first
recorded circumnavigation and mapping of
Newfoundland and New Zealand. Cook died in Hawaii
in a fracas with Hawaiians during his third
exploratory voyage in the Pacific in 1779.
  James Cook was born in relatively humble circumstances at Marton in North Yorkshire,
 which today is within the town of Middlesbrough. Cook was one of five children born to a
local woman and a Scottish immigrant farm labourer, Grace and James Sr. As a child, Cook
moved with his family to Airey Holme farm at Great Ayton, where he was educated at the
local school (now a museum), his studies financed by his father's employer. At 13 he began
                        work with his father, who managed the farm.
 In 1745, when he was 16, Cook left home to be apprenticed in a grocery/haberdashery in
  the fishing village of Staithes. According to legend, Cook first felt the lure of the sea
                              while gazing out the shop window.
    After a year and a half in Staithes, the shop's owner (Mr Sanderson) found James
 unsuited to the trade. Mr Sanderson took James to the nearby port town of Whitby and
  introduced him to John and Henry Walker. John and Henry were prominent local ship-
owners and Quakers, and were in the coal trade business. Cook was taken on as a merchant
navy apprentice in their small fleet of vessels plying coal along the English coast. His first
assignment was aboard the collier Freelove, and he spent several years on this, and various
                    other coasters sailing between the Tyne and London.
 For this new apprenticeship, Cook applied himself to the study of algebra, trigonometry,
      navigation, and astronomy, skills he would need one day to command his own ship.
Cook married Elizabeth Batts, the daughter of one of his mentors, on
December 21, 1762. The couple would eventually have six children :
James (1763-1794), Nathaniel (1764-1781), Elizabeth (1767-1771),
Joseph (1768-1768), George (1772-1772) and Hugh (1776-1793). When
not at sea, James Cook settled in the East End of London. He attended
St. Paul's Church, Shadwell, where his son James was baptised
   During the Seven Years' War, he participated in the siege of Quebec City before
   the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759. He showed a talent for surveying
   and cartography and was responsible for mapping much of the entrance to the
   Saint Lawrence River during the siege, allowing General Wolfe to make his
   famous stealth attack on the Plains of Abraham.


Cook's surveying skills were put to good use in
the 1760s, mapping the jagged coast of
Newfoundland. Cook surveyed the northwest
stretch in 1763 and 1764, the south coast
between the Burin Peninsula and Cape Ray in
1765 and 1766, and the west coast in 1767.
Cook’s five seasons in Newfoundland produced
the first large-scale and accurate maps of the
island’s coasts; they also gave Cook his mastery
of practical surveying, achieved under often
adverse conditions, and brought him to the
attention of the Admiralty and Royal Society at a
crucial moment both in his personal career and in
the direction of British overseas discovery
In 1766, the Royal Society hired
Cook to travel to the Pacific
Ocean to observe and record a
transit of Venus across the Sun.
Cook was commissioned as a
Lieutenant and given command of
HM Bark Endeavour. He sailed
from England in 1768, rounded
Cape Horn and continued westward
across the Pacific to arrive at
Tahiti on April 13, 1769, where
the observations were to be
made. The transit was scheduled
to occur on June 3, and in the
meantime he commissioned the
building of a small fort and
observatory.

				
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