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James Cook 1728-1779 was an English sailing ship Captain Navigator and Pacific Ocean expedition leader James Cook was born on 27 October 1728 in Marton England His father was a poor farm labourer who had worked his way up to Overseer James began as a farm labourer and grocers assistant He soon found employment on the Baltic sea in a Collier coal transport ship at the age of 18 During the war with the French in 1755 James Cook enlisted as an Able Seaman on the Eagle Within a month he was promoted because of outstanding ability to Masters Mate Four years later he was promoted to Master In command of his own ship James Cook performed a crucial charting of the St Lawrence River which made possible the great amphibious assault upon Quebec City in 1759 In 1763 he was given command of the schooner Grenville to survey the eastern coasts of Canada over a four year period These excellent charts were used up until the early part of the 20th century James Cook was selected to lead a 1768 expedition to observe the transit of Venus and to explore new lands in the Pacific Ocean In his first Pacific voyage James Cook rounded Cape Horn in the Endeavour and reached Tahiti on 3 June 1769 After recovering a necessary scientific instrument stolen by the natives the transit of Venus was successfully observed The Endeavour then spent six months charting New Zealand James Cook next explored and claimed possession of eastern Australia Returning to England on 12 June 1771 via New Guinea Java and the Cape of Good Hope the crew suffered an appalling 43 fatality rate James Cook thus became very concerned about crew health on subsequent voyages He instituted compulsory dietary reforms that were copied by many other ship captains The object of Captain Cooks second Pacific Ocean voyage was to confirm the existence
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