• Captain James Cook


    was an English explorer, navigator and cartographer.

    After service in the British merchant navy as a teenager, he joined the Royal Navy in 1755, seeing action in the Seven Years' War, and subsequently surveying and mapping much of the entrance to the Saint Lawrence River during the siege of Quebec. This allowed General Wolfe to make his famous stealth attack on the Plains of Abraham, and helped to bring Cook 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, and led to his commission as commander of HM Bark Endeavour and the first of his three Pacific voyages in 1766

    Cook made three voyages to the Pacific Ocean, achieving the first European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia, the European discovery of the Hawaiian Islands, the first mapping of Newfoundland and the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand.

    A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean; Undertaken by Command of his Majesty, for Making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere: Performed under the Direction of Captains Cook, Clerke, and Gore, In the Years 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779 and 1780. Being... [an] Abridgement of the Voyage, Written by Captain James Cook, F.R.S. and Captain James King, LL.D. and F....London: Printed by W. and A. Strahan 1784 3 vols. Large 8vo.

    A three-volume set and the official account of Cook's third and last voyage, which he undertook to seek out the fabled Northwest Passage from the Pacific. The officers of this voyage aboard the Resolution make up a list of important later Pacific explorers, including William Bligh, George Vancouver, and James Burney. Cook traveled to New Zealand, Tahiti, and other islands before making what he considered his most prolific discovery, the Hawaiian Islands, which he cristened the Sandwich Islands. Cook then headed north reaching present-day Oregon, following the coast north to Alaska, and sailing through the Bering Strait, after which the ship was stopped by pack ice in August 1778. In January 1779 

    Cook again reached the Hawaiian Islands where he had previously been welcomed as a God, but tensions quickly rose, prompting Cook to set sail on February 4. Several days later a storm destroyed the Resolution's foremast, and Cook once again returned to the islands to make repairs. The natives were not pleased to have the company of the Englishmen again. When one of the ship's boats was stolen, Cook took a Hawaiian chief hostage. Returning to the ship with his prisoner, Cook and his party were surrounded on the beach by angry natives who killed Cook. The first two volumes of this set are from Cook's journals; the third volume was written by Captain James King, who succeeded Cook after he was killed by Hawaiian natives.