On This Day

James Cook

Explorer James Cook

Profession: Explorer

United Kingdom

Biography: Cook explored thousands of miles across largely uncharted areas of the globe, surveying, recording and naming features for the first time.

This included large parts of the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand.

He had a unique combination of seamanship, surveying and cartographic skills, physical courage and leadership.

Born: October 27, 1728
Birthplace: Marton, Yorkshire, England
Star Sign: Scorpio

Died: February 14, 1779 (aged 50)
Cause of Death: Killed in a fight with Hawaiians

Articles and Photos

Married Life

  • 1762-12-21 British Explorer Captain James Cook marries Elizabeth Batts

Historical Events

  • 1768-08-25 Captain James Cook departs from Plymouth, England, on his first voyage on board the Endeavour, bound for the Pacific Ocean
  • 1769-04-13 British ship Endeavour captained by James Cook, arrives in Matavia Bay, Tahiti, with botanist Joseph Banks on board
  • 1769-10-08 Captain James Cook lands in New Zealand at Poverty Bay on the East Coast of the North Island
  • 1770-04-19 British explorer Captain James Cook first sights Australia. Writes in his log book that “what we have as yet seen of this land appears rather low, and not very hilly, the face of the Country green and Woody, but the Sea shore is all a white Sand.”
  • 1770-04-20 Captain James Cook arrives in New South Wales
  • 1770-04-28 British Captain James Cook, aboard the Endeavour, lands at Botany Bay in Australia
  • 1770-06-11 Captain James Cook discovers Great Barrier Reef off Australia
  • 1770-08-22 James Cook's expedition lands on the east coast of Australia
  • 1771-07-12 The Endeavour captained by James Cook, with Joseph Banks aboard, returns from its first voyage to the Pacific after two years
  • 1772-07-13 Captain James Cook begins 2nd voyage aboard the Resolution to the South Seas to search for Terra Australis (Southern continent)
  • 1772-10-30 Captain James Cook arrives with ship Resolution in Cape Town, South Africa
  • 1773-01-17 Captain James Cook becomes 1st to cross Antarctic Circle (66° 33' S)
  • 1773-12-18 A skirmish at Grass Cove in Queen Charlotte Sound results in the deaths of two Māori and nine members of James Cook's expedition, New Zealand
  • 1774-01-30 Captain James Cook reaches 71°10' south, 1820km from south pole (record)
  • 1774-07-17 Captain James Cook arrives in the New Hebrides (Vanuatu)
  • 1775-07-30 Captain James Cook with Resolution returns to England
  • 1776-07-12 Captain James Cook departs Plymouth, England helming HMS Resolution, beginning his 3rd and final trip to the Pacific
  • 1776-10-17 Captain James Cook arrives in Cape Town with Resolution on his 3rd trip to Pacific Ocean
  • 1777-01-26 Captain James Cook stops in Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) with Resolution, for supplies, on his 3rd trip to Pacific Ocean
  • 1777-02-12 Captain James Cook arrives at Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand, aboard Resolution, on his 3rd trip to Pacific Ocean
  • 1777-12-08 Captain James Cook leaves Society Islands
  • 1777-12-24 Kiritimati, also called Christmas Island, is discovered by James Cook
  • 1778-01-18 Captain James Cook stumbles over Sandwich Islands (Hawaiian Islands)
  • 1778-03-07 Captain James Cook 1st sights Oregon coast at Yaquina Bay
  • 1778-03-15 Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island discovered by Captain James Cook
  • 1778-03-22 Captain James Cook sights Cape Flattery, now in Washington state
  • 1778-08-09 Captain James Cook reaches Cape Prince of Wales, Bering Straits
  • 1778-10-03 Captain James Cook anchors at Alaska
  • 1778-11-26 British explorer Captain James Cook is the first European to visit Maui in the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii)
  • 1779-01-17 Captain James Cook's last notation in Discovery's ship's log

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