Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
March 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


James Cook


Cook, James (1728-1779), navigator, was born at Marton, Yorkshire, England, on October 27, 1728, the son of an agricultural labourer. He entered the Royal Navy, and rose to the rank of master. The charts and observations which he made as marine surveyor of Newfoundland and Labrador , after the conquest of Canada, brought him to the attention of the Royal Society; and in 1768 he was offered command of an expedition to the Pacific ocean, for the purpose of observing the transit of Venus over the face of the sun. This expedition, on which he explored the coasts of New Zealand and Australia, was the first of three which he made to the South seas. He returned to England in 1771; and in 1772 he set out on a second expedition, during which he made further explorations in the Pacific. He set out on his third and final expedition in 1776; and in the course of this voyage he explored the coast of North America as far north as Bering strait. He was killed by the natives on the island of Hawaii on February 14, 1779. After his death his widow and children were granted pensions by the British government; and the Royal Society struck a medal in memory of his work. He was the author of An account of a voyage round the world in the years 1768-71 (vols. ii and iii of Hawkesworth's Voyages, 1773), A voyage toward the South Pole and round the world . . . in the years 1772-5 (2 vols., London, 1777), and a Voyage to the Pacific ocean. . . in the years 1776-80 (3 vols. and atlas, London, 1784), the last volume of which was written by James King. There is a voluminous literature relating to Cook's voyages, some account of which will be found in the Bibliography of Capt. James Cook, published by the Public Library, Sydney, New South Wales (Sydney, 1928). Recent books are Sir J. H. M. Carruthers, Capt. James Cook (London, 1930), and F. W. Hooray (ed.), Zimmerman's Capt. Cook (Toronto, 1930).


Source  : W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. II, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 411p., pp. 120-121.

© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College