For more information see: www.captaincook.org.uk
James Cook was born on 27th of October 1728 in the village of Marton, now a suburb of Middlesbrough. His father was a humble farm labourer who had worked his way up to Overseer. His father is buried in the cliff top grave yard at Marske-by-sea
James began his working life as a farm labourer and grocer's assistant. He wanted to go to sea and at 18 years old, found a job on a Collier trading in the Baltic sea.
During the war with the French in 1755, he enlisted as an Able Seaman on a ship named the Eagle. Within one month he was promoted to Master's Mate. Four years later he was promoted to Master. In command of his own ship, he performed a crucial charting of the St. Lawrence River, which made the great amphibious assault on Quebec City in 1759 possible.
James Cook was selected to lead an expedition in 1768 to observe the transit of Venus and to explore new lands in the Pacific Ocean. On his first Pacific voyage he rounded Cape Horn in his ship, the Endeavour and reached Tahiti on 3rd of June 1769. After successfully observing the transit of Venus, he went on to spend 6 months charting New Zealand. He then went on to discover and explore Australia. On the way back to England, his crew suffered a 43% fatality rate, causing Cook to investigate the crews diet. He instigated quite a few changes to the crew's diet from then on.
The object of his second Pacific Ocean voyages was to confirm the existence of a Great Southern Continent. This time his ship was named the Resolution. The convoy left Plymouth on 13th of July 1772. He charted many of the South pacific islands to an accuracy of within 3 miles, then returned to England on 29th of July 1775. He was awarded the Copley Gold Medal and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society.
His third great voyage, which was primarily to find the Northwest Passage from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, set out from Plymouth on 12th of July 1776. His ship again was the Resolution. The convoy sailed round the Cape of Good Hope to reach the west coast of America in February on 1778. After much searching, he headed off to Hawaii to repair the ships and wait out the winter. Not long after leaving Hawaii, a storm damaged the foremast of his ship and he had to return to Kealakekua Bay for more repairs. The island natives became restless with the unwelcome visitors and stole a lifeboat from the Resolution. This upset Cook and a fight broke out, he was killed during the fight on 14th of February 1779.