The New Student's Reference Work/Cook, James, Captain
Cook, James, Captain, a great English navigator, was born Oct. 28, 1728, the son of a farm-laborer. In 1755 he entered the royal navy and became a master-mariner, and at this time surveyed the shores of Newfoundland and the St. Lawrence. In 1768, as lieutenant in command of a ship, he sailed to Tahiti with an expedition to observe the transit of Venus. On the return voyage he sailed around New Zealand for the first time, mapped its coasts and explored the east side of Australia.
His third voyage was made as captain in charge of two ships. After discovering Hawaii, which he named the Sandwich Islands, he followed the North American coast, trying to find a northwest passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic. He reached Bering Strait, but, forced to turn back, he made Hawaii in 1779. Here he was murdered by the islanders Feb. 14, 1779. Captain Cook, perhaps more than anyone else, added to our knowledge of the Pacific and Antarctic Oceans. His surveys also have stood later tests and been found accurate.