Voyages of Discovery episode 2 – The Making of Captain Cook: Explorer Paul Rose tells the story of one of the greatest ever sea adventures, which transformed Captain James Cook into a national hero and dramatically changed the course of history.
Two and a half centuries later, Captain Cook is still a household name, but his achievements are often misunderstood, contrary to popular perception, he did not discover New Zealand and Australia. Intrepid Rose follows his journey down under and uncovers the real story of Captain Cook.
Voyages of Discovery episode 2 – The Making of Captain Cook
James Cook FRS was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the British Royal Navy. He made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean, during which he achieved the first recorded European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, and the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand.
Cook joined the British merchant navy as a teenager and joined the Royal Navy in 1755. He saw action in the Seven Years’ War and subsequently surveyed and mapped much of the entrance to the Saint Lawrence River during the siege of Quebec, which brought him to the attention of the Admiralty and Royal Society. This acclaim came at a crucial moment in his career and the direction of British overseas exploration, and led to his commission in 1766 as commander of HM Bark Endeavour for the first of three Pacific voyages.
In these voyages, Cook sailed thousands of miles across largely uncharted areas of the globe. He mapped lands from New Zealand to Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean in greater detail and on a scale not previously charted by Western explorers. Captain Cook surveyed and named features, and recorded islands and coastlines on European maps for the first time. He displayed a combination of seamanship, superior surveying and cartographic skills, physical courage, and an ability to lead men in adverse conditions.