Captain James Cook: Ill-fated Navigator and Explorer of the South Seas
Born today was Captain Cook.
Three voyages to the Pacific he took.
On one he recorded the Transit of Venus.
Don't know about him? I'll keep it between us.
"On Captain Cook's first voyage, he set the bar for his future voyages. Along the way, he made extensive maps of the places he visited, along with observations about the people he encountered and how he interacted with them. Artists on board painted the plants and animals seen on the voyage, along with various scenes of interest. His thorough documentation continues to be the delight of archaeologists and history students.
Cook also promoted an anti-scurvy
diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, keeping his crew healthy and happy. He went on to make two more journeys to the South Pacific, becoming something of a hero in his native England. On his second journey, Captain Cook took along a chronometer, a very precise clock which could be used in longitude calculations.
During the course of his travels, Captain Cook expressed astonishment at how wide-spread the Polynesian peoples were, noting that the English were not the only seafarers. Reports about Cook's interactions with both his crew and the native peoples they encountered are conflicted. Some historians portray Captain Cook as a peaceable, friendly man, while others say that he was hard and cruel. The glorification of Cook in many regions makes it hard to find the truth behind the stories.
In 1779, Captain Cook met an unfortunate end at the hands of native Hawaiians at Kealakekua Bay on the big island of Hawaii. Tensions between Captain Cook and the Hawaiians had indicated that it was time to depart in early February of that year, but unfortunately Cook was forced to return because the main mast of his ship broke. Cook was met with hostility, and the Hawaiians stole one of the ship's boats; Cook responded by attempting to kidnap hostages, unfortunately picking a chieftain, and he was clubbed to death by the Hawaiians as he attempted to take his hostage back to the ship". [wisegeek.com]