The route of Cook's first voyage

The first voyage of James Cook was a combined Royal Navy and Royal Society expedition to the south Pacific Ocean aboard HMS Endeavour, from 1768 to 1771. It was the first of three Pacific voyages of which James Cook was the commander. The aims of this first expedition were to observe the 1769 transit of Venus across the Sun (3–4 June that year), and to seek evidence of the postulated Terra Australis Incognita or "undiscovered southern land".

The voyage was commissioned by King George III and commanded by Lieutenant Cook, a junior naval officer with good skills in cartography and mathematics. Departing from Plymouth Dockyard in August 1768, the expedition crossed the Atlantic, rounded Cape Horn and reached Tahiti in time to observe the transit of Venus. Cook then set sail into the largely uncharted ocean to the south, stopping at the Pacific islands of Huahine, Borabora and Raiatea to claim them for Great Britain.[1] In October 1769 the expedition reached New Zealand, being the second Europeans to visit there, following the first European discovery by Abel Tasman 127 years earlier. Cook and his crew spent the following six months charting the New Zealand coast, before resuming their voyage westward across open sea. In April 1770 they became the first known Europeans to reach the east coast of Australia, making landfall near present-day Point Hicks, and then proceeding north to Botany Bay.

The expedition continued northward along the Australian coastline, narrowly avoiding shipwreck on the Great Barrier Reef. In October 1770 the badly damaged Endeavour came into the port of Batavia in the Dutch East Indies, her crew sworn to secrecy about the lands they had discovered. They resumed their journey on 26 December, rounded the Cape of Good Hope on 13 March 1771, and reached the English port of Deal on 12 July. The voyage lasted almost three years.

The year following his return Cook set out on a second voyage of the Pacific, which lasted from 1772 to 1775. His third and final voyage lasted from 1776 to 1780.


On 16 February 1768 the Royal Society petitioned King George III to finance a scientific expedition to the Pacific to study and observe the 1769 transit of Venus across the sun to enable the measurement of the distance from the Earth to the Sun.[2] Royal approval was granted for the expedition, and the Admiralty elected to combine the scientific voyage with a confidential mission to search the south Pacific for signs of the postulated continent Terra Australis Incognita (or "unknown southern land").[3] The aims of the expedition were revealed in the press: "To-morrow morning Mr. Banks, Dr. Solano [sic], with Mr. Green, the Astronomer, will set out for Deal, to embark on board the Endeavour, Capt. Cook, for the South Seas, under the direction of the Royal Society, to observe the Transit of Venus next summer, and to make discoveries to the South and West of Cape Horn".[4] The London Gazetteer was more explicit when it reported on 18 August 1768: "The gentlemen, who are to sail in a few days for George's Land, the new discovered island in the Pacific ocean, with an intention to observe the Transit of Venus, are likewise, we are credibly informed, to attempt some new discoveries in that vast unknown tract, above the latitude 40".[5] Another article reported that "the principal and almost sole national advantage" of the island discovered by Captain Wallace, that is Tahiti, was "its situation for exploring the Terra Incognita of the Southern Hemisphere", and that, "The Endeavour, a North-Country Cat, is purchased by the Government, and commanded by a Lieutenant of the Navy; she is fitting out at Deptford for the South Sea, thought to be intended for the newly discovered island."[6] The Gazette de France of 20 June 1768 reported that the British Admiralty was outfitting two sloops of war to go to "the newly discovered island", from where they would "essay the discovery of the Southern Continent".

The Royal Society suggested command be given to Scottish geographer Alexander Dalrymple, who had urged that an expedition be sent to make contact with the estimated 50 million inhabitants of the Southern Continent with whom, he said, there was "at present no trade from Europe thither, though the scraps from this table would be sufficient to maintain the power, dominion, and sovereignty of Britain, by employing all its manufacturers and ships".[7] As a condition of his acceptance, Dalrymple demanded a brevet commission as a captain in the Royal Navy. However, First Lord of the Admiralty Edward Hawke refused, going so far as to say he would rather cut off his right hand than give command of a Navy vessel to someone not educated as a seaman.[8] In refusing Dalrymple's command, Hawke was influenced by previous insubordination aboard the sloop HMS Paramour in 1698, when naval officers had refused to take orders from civilian commander Edmond Halley.[8] The impasse was broken when the Admiralty proposed James Cook, a naval officer with a background in mathematics and cartography.[9] Acceptable to both parties, Cook was promoted to Lieutenant and named as commander of the expedition.[10]

Preparations and personnel

Vessel and provisions

A three-masted sailing ship leaves a busy seaport while five men watch from the shore. The seaport is flanked by green hills beneath a cloudy sky.
Earl of Pembroke, later HMS Endeavour, leaving Whitby Harbour in 1768. By Thomas Luny, dated 1790

The vessel chosen by the Admiralty for the voyage was a merchant collier named Earl of Pembroke, launched in June 1764 from the coal and whaling port of Whitby in North Yorkshire.[11] She was ship-rigged and sturdily built with a broad, flat bow, a square stern and a long box-like body with a deep hold.[12] A flat-bottomed design made her well-suited to sailing in shallow waters and allowed her to be beached for loading and unloading of cargo and for basic repairs without requiring a dry dock. Her length was 106 feet (32 m), with a beam of 29 feet 3 inches (8.92 m), and measuring 3687194 tons burthen.[11][13]

Earl of Pembroke was purchased by the Admiralty in May 1768 for £2,840 10s 11d[14][a] and sailed to Deptford on the River Thames to be prepared for the voyage. Her hull was sheathed and caulked, and a third internal deck installed to provide cabins, a powder magazine and storerooms.[15] A longboat, pinnace and yawl were provided as ship's boats, as well as a set of 28 ft (8.5 m) sweeps to allow the ship to be rowed if becalmed or demasted.[16] After commissioning into the Royal Navy as His Majesty's Bark the Endeavour, the ship was supplied with ten 4-pounder cannons and twelve swivel guns, for defence against native attack while in the Pacific.[17]

Provisions loaded at the outset of the voyage included 6,000 pieces of pork and 4,000 of beef, nine tons of bread, five tons of flour, three tons of sauerkraut, one ton of raisins and sundry quantities of cheese, salt, peas, oil, sugar and oatmeal. Alcohol supplies consisted of 250 barrels of beer, 44 barrels of brandy and 17 barrels of rum.[18] The livestock included a goat that had already travelled around the world with Samuel Wallis.[19][20]


The Admiralty's Instructions to Cook were divided into two sections, both marked "Secret"[21] The first document dealt with the voyage to Tahiti, while the second dealt with the post-transit agenda. After Tahiti, Cook was instructed to sail directly south in search of the long-imagined sixth continent, referred to as the 'Southern Continent'. Next, he was to turn west to New Zealand, from where he was free to choose his homeward route. The Admiralty's Instructions do not mention the half-mapped fifth continent of New Holland (as Australia was known in the eighteenth century).[22]

Ship's company

Further information: List of crew members aboard the first voyage of James Cook

On 30 July 1768 the Admiralty authorised a ship's company for the voyage, of 73 sailors and 12 Royal Marines.[23] The voyage was commanded by 40-year-old Lieutenant James Cook. His second lieutenant was Zachary Hicks, a 29-year-old from Stepney in London with experience as acting commander of HMS Hornet, a 16-gun cutter.[24] The third lieutenant was John Gore, a 16-year Naval veteran who had served as master's mate aboard HMS Dolphin during its circumnavigation of the world in 1766.[25]

Other notable people on the expedition included the official astronomer, Charles Green, then assistant to the Astronomer Royal, Nevil Maskelyne. Joseph Banks had been appointed to the voyage as the official botanist. Banks funded seven others to join him: a Swedish naturalist Daniel Solander, a Finnish naturalist Herman Spöring, two artists (Alexander Buchan and Sydney Parkinson), a scientific secretary, and two black servants from his estate.[26]

Voyage of discovery

Voyage from Plymouth to Tahiti

View of the Endeavour's watering place in the Bay of Good Success, Tierra del Fuego, with natives. Alexander Buchan, January 1769.

Cook departed from Plymouth on 26 August 1768, carrying 94 people and 18 months of provisions.[27] On 15 November, Endeavour reached Rio de Janeiro and stayed there until 2 December, re-provisioning and making repairs. The Viceroy, the Marques de Azambuja, had been warned by his home government that Britain was seeking to extend its overseas power and influence following its victory in the Seven Years' War, and therefore suspected that the observation of the transit of Venus and study of natural history that Cook told him were the aims of his voyage were not its only or main objectives. Cook took offence at the Viceroy's suspicious attitude.[28] In his journal, he described Guanabara Bay, including its defensive fortifications, and noted that the city could be taken by a force of six ships of the line.[29] The ship rounded Cape Horn and continued westward across the Pacific to arrive at Matavai Bay, Tahiti on 13 April 1769, where the observations were to be made. The transit was scheduled to occur on 3 June, and in the meantime Cook commissioned the building of a small fort and observatory at what is now known as Point Venus.[30]

Transit of Venus

The astronomer appointed to the task was Charles Green, assistant to the recently appointed Astronomer Royal, Nevil Maskelyne. The primary purpose of the observation was to obtain measurements that could be used to calculate more accurately the distance of Venus from the Sun. If this could be achieved, then the distances of the other planets could be worked out, and eventually the distance between any two points on Earth, thus solving the problem of accurately establishing longitude.[31][32] On the day of the transit observation, Cook recorded:

Saturday 3rd This day prov'd as favourable to our purpose as we could wish, not a Clowd was to be seen the Whole day and the Air was perfectly clear, so that we had every advantage we could desire in Observing the whole of the passage of the Planet Venus over the Suns disk: we very distinctly saw an Atmosphere or dusky shade round the body of the Planet which very much disturbed the times of the contacts particularly the two internal ones. D r Solander observed as well as Mr Green and my self, and we differ'd from one another in observeing the times of the Contacts much more than could be expected.[33]

Disappointingly, the separate measurements of Green, Cook and Solander varied by more than the anticipated margin of error. Their instrumentation was adequate by the standards of the time, but the resolution still could not eliminate the errors. When their results were later compared to those of the other observations of the same event made elsewhere for the exercise, the net result was not as conclusive or accurate as had been hoped. The difficulties are today thought to relate to various optical phenomena (including the Black drop effect), that precluded accurate measurement – particularly with the instruments used by Cook, Green and Solander.[34][35]

Society Islands and southern continent

Once the observations were completed, Cook opened the sealed orders for the second part of his voyage: to search the south Pacific for signs of the postulated southern continent of Terra Australis.[36] The Royal Society, and especially Alexander Dalrymple, believed that Terra Australis must exist, and that Britain's best chance of discovering and claiming it before any rival European power would be by using Cook's Transit of Venus mission.[37]

Cook, however, decided to first explore the other nearby islands. A local priest and mariner named Tupaia volunteered to join him, and was to prove invaluable as a pilot, interpreter and intermediary between the crew of the Endeavour and local inhabitants.[38] The Endeavour left Tahiti on 13 July and entered the harbour of the nearby island of Huahine on 16 July. There Cook gave to Oree, the chief, an inscribed plate "as lasting a Testimony of our having first discover'd this island as any we could leave behind".[39] From Huahine Cook sailed to the neighbouring island of Raiatea where, on 20 July, he raised the flag and claimed Raiatea-Tahaa and the "adjacent" islands of Huahine, Borabora, Tupai (Motu Iti) and Maurua (Maupiti) for Great Britain, naming them the Society Islands "as they lay contiguous to one another".[1]

On 9 August, Cook weighed anchor and, following Admiralty instructions, sailed south in search of the southern continent. In early September, after a journey of some 2400 kilometres, the Endeavour reached the latitude of 40 degrees south without sighting the supposed continent.[40] In accordance with his instructions, Cook then turned west and headed towards New Zealand, keeping a course between a latitude of approximately 29 degrees and 40 degrees south.[41]

New Zealand

Initial contacts with Māori

Cook's map of New Zealand
Māori war canoe with triangle sail drawn by Herman Spöring during Cook's first voyage to New Zealand in 1769

Cook reached New Zealand on 6 October 1769, leading only the second group of Europeans known to do so (after Abel Tasman over a century earlier, in 1642). Cook and a landing party arrived onshore on 7 October at Poverty Bay in the north-east of the North Island. Over the first two days of arriving onshore, the first encounters with Māori resulted in the death of four or five locals.[42] Three more Māori were killed in an encounter farther south off Cape Kidnappers on 15 October.[43] Cook's journal entries reflect regret as he had failed his instructions to avoid hostilities with the Indigenous people of any nations encountered.[44] Further encounters with Māori at Anaura Bay and Tolaga Bay were more peaceful, with Tupaia (who understood the Māori language) playing an important role as interpreter and mediator between the parties. The Māori traded freely with the Europeans and allowed them to gather water, wild celery and scurvy grass.[45][46]

Mercury Bay

Sailing north, the Endeavor next anchored at Mercury Bay where Cook observed the transit of Mercury on 9 November. Relations with the Māori were generally peaceful, although one local was killed in a trading dispute. This was the last recorded death of a Māori at the hands of Cook's crew. After raising the flag and formally claiming possession of Mercury Bay for Great Britain, Cook sailed the Endeavour out of the bay on 15 November.[47][48]

Circumnavigation of the North Island

Continuing north, Cook anchored at Bream Head and then the Bay of Islands, before rounding North Cape in the face of strong gales, narrowly missing an encounter with Surville's French expedition in the St Jean Baptiste, which was rounding the cape at the same time in the opposite direction.[49] On 6 January 1770, the gales abated and Cook was able to make good progress down the west coast of the North Island without landing onshore. By mid-January, Cook arrived in Queen Charlotte Sound, on the north coast of New Zealand's South Island, a location he would favour in his second and third voyages.[50]

Cook led an excursion to nearby Arapawa Island on 22 January, where he climbed Kaitapeha Peak and saw the strait (which he named Cook Strait) separating the North Island of New Zealand from the South Island. The existence of the strait proved that the North Island was not part of the supposed southern continent.[51][52]

On 31 January, Cook claimed possession of Queen Charlotte Sound "and the adjacent lands" in the name of King George III. This was the last time Cook would claim possession of any part of New Zealand on behalf of Great Britain. The Endeavour sailed out of the sound on 5 February, and passing through Cook Strait, turned north, allowing Cook to chart the coast from Cape Palliser to Cape Turnagain. This completed the circumnavigation of the North island.[53]

Circumnavigation of the South Island

Turning south, Cook sailed down the east coast of the South Island, charting the coast and continuing the search for the southern continent. The Endeavour rounded South Cape on 10 March, proving, even to southern continent enthusiasts such as Banks, that the South Island was not the sought-after sixth continent.[54][55]

Cook continued north along the west coast of the South Island without landing, before re-entering Cook Strait and turning into Admiralty Bay on 27 March. The circumnavigation of southern New Zealand had been completed.[56]

Foveaux Strait

With patience Cook had mapped a land almost as large as Italy, making only two major mapping errors, both in the South Island. Through lack of time, he mistakenly thought that Banks Peninsula was an island and he thought Stewart Island, at the very south, was a peninsula.[57]

Margaret Cameron-Ash claims Cook knew that a strait separated Stewart Island from the mainland, but hid his discovery for reasons of military and colonial policy.[58] Mawer, however, agrees with Blainey that it is more likely that Cook simply made an error, as his focus was on finding the southern extent of New Zealand, and conditions were unfavourable for more closely exploring the possible strait.[59]

Instructions fulfilled

Cook wrote in his Journal on 31 March 1770 that Endeavour's voyage "must be allowed to have set aside the most, if not all, the Arguments and proofs that have been advanced by different Authors to prove that there must be a Southern Continent; I mean to the Northward of 40 degrees South, for what may lie to the Southward of that Latitude I know not".[60]

On the same day he recorded his decision to set a course to return home by way of the yet unknown east coast of New Holland (as Australia was then called):

being now resolv'd to quit this Country altogether, and to bend my thought towards returning home by such a rout as might Conduce most to the Advantage of the Service I am upon, I consulted with the Officers upon the most Eligible way of putting this in Execution. To return by the way of Cape Horn was what I most wished because by this route we should have been able to prove the Existance or Non-Existance of a Southern Continent, which yet remains Doubtfull; but in order to Ascertain this we must have kept in a higher Latitude in the very Depth of Winter, but the Condition of the Ship, in every respect, was not thought sufficient for such an undertaking. For the same reason, the thoughts of proceeding directly to the Cape of Good Hope was laid aside, especially as no discovery of any Moment could be hoped for in that rout. It was therefore resolved to return by way of the East Indies by the following rout: upon Leaving this Coast to steer to the Westward until we fall in with the East Coast of New Holland, and then to follow the direction of that Coast to the Northward, or what other direction it might take us until we arrive at its Northern extremity; and if this should be found impracticable, then to Endeavour to fall in with the Land or Islands discovered by Quiros.[61]

A voyage to explore the east coast of New Holland, with a view to the British colonization of the country, had been recommended in John Campbell's editions of John Harris's Navigantium atque Itinerantium Bibliotheca, or Voyages and Travels (1744–1748, and 1764), a book which Cook had with him on Endeavour:

The first Point, with respect to a Discovery, would be, to send a small Squadron on the Coast of Van Diemen's Land, and from thence round, in the same course taken by Captain Tasman, by the Coast of New Guiney; which might enable the Nations that attempted it, to come to an absolute Certainty with regard to its Commodities and Commerce... By this means all the back Coast of New Holland, and New Guiney, might be roughly examined; and we might know as well, and as certainly, as the Dutch, how far a Colony settled there might answer our Expectations.[62]

Australian coast

Cook then set course westwards, intending to strike for Van Diemen's Land (present-day Tasmania, sighted by Tasman) to establish whether or not it formed part of the fabled southern continent. However, they were forced to maintain a more northerly course owing to prevailing gales, and sailed on until 19 April 1770 when land was sighted at 6 a.m. After further observation, Cook named the land Point Hicks, after the officer who first sighted land.[63] This point was on the south-eastern coast of the Australian continent, and therefore Cook's expedition became the first recorded Europeans to have encountered its eastern coastline (though previous Dutch explorers had mapped the north, west and much of the south coast.[64] In his journal, Cook recorded the event thus:

the Southermost Point of land we had in sight which bore from us W1/4S I judged to lay in the Latitude of 38°..0' S° and in the Longitude of 211°..07' W t from the Meridian of Greenwich. I have named it Point Hicks, because Lieut t Hicks was the first who discover'd this land.[65]

Cook calculated that Van Diemen's Land ought to lie due south of their position, but having found the coastline trending to the south-west, recorded his doubt that this landmass was connected to it.[63]

The landmark of this sighting is generally reckoned to be a point lying about half-way between the present-day towns of Orbost and Mallacoota on the south-eastern coast of the state of Victoria. A survey done in 1843 ignored or overlooked Cook's earlier naming of the point, giving it the name Cape Everard. On the 200th anniversary of the sighting, the name was officially changed back to Point Hicks.[66][67] Nevertheless, it is likely that Cook's "Point of land" was somewhat to the south-west of today's Point Hicks.[68]

The ship's log recorded that land was sighted at 6 a.m. on Thursday 19 April 1770. Cook's log used the nautical date, which, during the 18th century, assigned the same date to all ship's events from noon to noon, first p.m. and then a.m. That nautical date began twelve hours before the midnight beginning of the like-named civil date. Furthermore, Cook did not adjust his nautical date to account for circumnavigation of the globe until he had travelled a full 360° relative to the longitude of his home British port, either toward the east or west. Because he travelled west on his first voyage, this a.m. nautical date was the morning of a civil date 14 hours slow relative to his home port (port−14h). Because the south-east coast of Australia is now regarded as being 10 hours ahead relative to Britain, that date is now called Friday, 20 April.[69]

Botany Bay and initial contacts with Aboriginal people

Cook's landing at Botany Bay (Kamay), 1770
Captain Cook landing place plaque

Endeavour continued northwards along the coastline, keeping the land in sight with Cook charting and naming landmarks as he went. A little over a week later, they came across an extensive but shallow inlet, and upon entering it moored off a low headland fronted by sand dunes.

On 29 April, Cook and crew made their first landfall on the continent at a beach now known as Silver Beach on Botany Bay (Kamay). Two Gweagal men of the Dharawal / Eora nation came down to the boat to fend off what they thought to be spirits of the dead. They shouted 'warra warra wai' meaning 'you are all dead' and gestured with their spears.[70] Cook's party attempted to communicate their desire for water and threw gifts of beads and nails ashore. The two Aboriginal men continued to oppose the landing and Cook fired a warning shot. One of the Gweagal men responded by throwing a rock, and Cook fired on them with small shot, wounding one of them in the leg.[71] The crew then landed, and the Gweagal men threw two spears before Cook fired another round of small shot and they retreated. The landing party found several children in nearby huts, and left some beads and other gifts with them. The landing party collected 40 to 50 spears and other artefacts.[72][73][74]

Cook and his crew stayed at Botany Bay for a week, collecting water, timber, fodder and botanical specimens and exploring the surrounding area. The Indigenous inhabitants observed the Europeans closely but generally retreated whenever they approached. Cook's party made several attempts to establish relations with the Indigenous people, but they showed no interest in the food and gifts the Europeans offered, and occasionally threw spears as an apparent warning.[75][b][76]

At first Cook named the inlet "Sting-Ray Harbour" after the many stingrays found there. This was later changed to "Botanist Bay" and finally Botany Bay after the unique specimens retrieved by the botanists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander.[77] This first landing site was later to be promoted (particularly by Joseph Banks) as a suitable candidate for situating a settlement and British colonial outpost.[78]

Port Jackson

On 6 May 1770, the Endeavour left Botany Bay and sailed north past an inlet "wherein there appeared to be safe anchorage". Cook named it Port Jackson, today generally known as Sydney Harbour.[79] No-one on the ship recorded seeing any of the Harbour's many islands, because their line of sight was blocked by the high promontories of South Head and Bradleys Head that shape its dog-leg entrance. However, these islands were possibly known to Captain Arthur Phillip, the First Fleet commander, before he departed England in 1787.[80]

This kangaroo was seen at Endeavour River on 23 June 1770, painted by Sydney Parkinson

Seventeen Seventy

Cook continued northwards, charting along the coastline. He stopped at Bustard Bay (now known as Seventeen Seventy) at 8 o'clock on 23 May 1770 in five fathoms water on a sandy bottom at the south point of the Bay. Cook recounted that his clerk, Orton, had been molested while dead drunk that night, the perpetrators cutting off not only his clothes but also parts of his ears. Cook suspended and sent below the suspect Magra.[81] On 24 May Cook and Banks and others went ashore. He sounded the channel (now known as Round Hill Creek) and found a freshwater stream, noting there was room for a few ships to safely anchor. He noted a great deal of smoke on the hills and inspected one of the closest group of 10 fires around which were scattered cockle shells and other evidence of Aboriginal occupation.[81]

Endeavour River

Captain James Cook Commander, H.M.B. "Endeavour" which was beached and repaired near this site 17 June – 4 August 1770

A mishap occurred when Endeavour ran aground on a shoal of the Great Barrier Reef, on 11 June 1770. The ship was seriously damaged and his voyage was delayed almost seven weeks while repairs were carried out on the beach (near the docks of modern Cooktown, at the mouth of the Endeavour River). While there, Joseph Banks, Herman Spöring and Daniel Solander made their first major collections of Australian flora.[citation needed]

The crew's encounters with the local Guugu Yimidhirr people were mainly peaceable, although following a dispute over green turtles Cook ordered shots to be fired and one local was lightly wounded.[82] The word "kangaroo" entered the English language, from the Guugu Yimidhirr word for a kind of grey kangaroo, gangurru (pronounced [ɡ̊aŋuru]).[83]

Possession Island

Once repairs were completed, the voyage continued and at about midday on 22 August 1770, Cook reached the northernmost tip of the coast. Without leaving the ship, he named it York Cape (now Cape York) and departed the east coast.[84] Turning west, he nursed the battered ship through the dangerously shallow waters of Torres Strait, earlier navigated by Luis Váez de Torres in 1606. Searching for a high vantage point, Cook saw a steep hill on a nearby island from the top of which he hoped to see "a passage into the Indian Seas". Cook named the island Possession Island, where he claimed the entire eastern coastline that he had just explored as British territory.[85]

In negotiating the Torres Strait past Cape York, Cook also put an end to the speculation that New Holland and New Guinea were part of the same land mass.[86]

He had already established that New Holland was not joined to the islands later called the New Hebrides, as a chart by Didier Robert de Vaugondy showed. On 11 June he wrote in his journal: "we now begun to draw near the Latitude of those [islands] discover'd by Quiros [Queirós] which some Geographers, for what reason I know not have thought proper to Tack to this land".[87][88]

Scurvy prevention

At that point in the voyage Cook had lost not a single man to scurvy, a remarkable and practically unheard-of achievement in 18th-century long-distance seafaring. Adhering to Royal Navy policy introduced in 1747, Cook persuaded his men to eat foods such as citrus fruits and sauerkraut. At that time it was known that poor diet caused scurvy but not specifically that a vitamin C deficiency was the culprit.[citation needed]

Sailors of the day were notoriously against innovation, and at first the men would not eat the sauerkraut. Cook used a "method I never once knew to fail with seamen".[89] He ordered it served to himself and the officers, and left an option for crew who wanted some. Within a week of seeing their superiors set a value on it the demand was so great a ration had to be instituted.[89] In other cases, however, Cook resorted to traditional naval discipline. "Punished Henry Stephens, Seaman, and Thomas Dunster, Marine, with twelve lashes each for refusing to take their allowance of fresh beef."[90]

Cook's general approach was essentially empirical, encouraging as broad a diet as circumstances permitted, and collecting such greens as could be had when making landfall. All onboard ate the same food, with Cook specifically dividing equally anything that could be divided (and indeed recommending that practice to any commander – journal 4 August 1770).[citation needed]

Two cases of scurvy did occur on board, astronomer Charles Green and a Tahiti navigator Tupaia were treated, but Cook was able to proudly record that upon reaching Batavia he had "not one man upon the sick list" (journal 15 October 1770), unlike so many voyages that reached that port with much of the crew suffering illness.[citation needed]

Homeward voyage

Route of Endeavour from the Torres Strait to Java, August and September 1770

Endeavour then visited the island of Savu, staying for three days before continuing on to Batavia, the capital of the Dutch East Indies, to put in for repairs. Batavia was known for its outbreaks of malaria, and before they returned home in 1771 many in Cook's company succumbed to the disease and other ailments such as dysentery, including the Tahitian Tupaia, Banks' Finnish secretary and fellow scientist Herman Spöring, astronomer Charles Green, and the illustrator Sydney Parkinson. Cook named Spöring Island off the coast of New Zealand to honour Herman Spöring and his work on the voyage.[citation needed]

Cook then rounded the Cape of Good Hope and stopped at Saint Helena. On 10 July 1771 Nicholas Young, the boy who had first seen New Zealand, sighted England (specifically the Lizard) again for the first time, and Endeavour sailed up the English Channel, passing Beachy Head at 6 a.m. on 12 July; that afternoon Endeavour anchored in the Downs, and Cook went ashore at Deal, Kent. His return was unexpected, as newspapers and journals had long since reported fears that Endeavour had been lost at sea or destroyed in combat against the French.[91]

Publication of journals

Main article: An Account of the Voyages

John Hawkesworth

Cook's journals, along with those of Banks, were handed over to the Admiralty to be published upon his return. John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich contracted, for £6,000, John Hawkesworth a literary critic, essayist, and editor of The Gentleman's Magazine to publish a comprehensive account of exploration in the Pacific: not just Cook's ventures but also those of Wallis, Byron and Carteret. Hawkesworth edited the journals of Byron, Wallis and Carteret into separate accounts as volume I and then blended Cook's and Joseph Banks' journals with some of his own sentiments and produced a single first-person narrative that appeared to be the words of Cook, as volume II.[92] The book appeared in 1773 as three volumes with the title:

AN ACCOUNT OF THE VOYAGES undertaken by Order of His Present Majesty for making Discoveries in the Southern Hemisphere, and successively performed by Commodore Byron, Captain Wallis, Captain Carteret and Captain Cook, in the Dolphin, the Swallow and the Endeavour: Drawn up from the Journals which were kept by the several Commanders, and from the Papers of Joseph Banks, Esq.; by John Hawkesworth, LL.D. In three volumes. Illustrated with Cuts, and a great Variety of Charts and Maps relative to Countries now first discovered, or hitherto but imperfectly known.

— Printed for W. Strahan & T. Cadell in the Strand. London: MDCCLXXIII

The book went on sale on 9 June 1773 but widespread criticism in the press made the publication a personal disaster for Hawkesworth. Reviewers complained that the reader had no way to tell which part of the account was Cook, which part Banks and which part Hawkesworth and others were offended by the books' descriptions of the voyagers' sexual encounters with the Tahitians.[93][94] Cook was at sea again before the book was published and was later much disturbed by some of the sentiments that Hawkesworth had ascribed to him. He determined to edit his own journals in future.

The papers of Sydney Parkinson, the botanical draughtsman of Joseph Banks who had died on the homeward voyage, were published by his brother Stanfield under the title A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas. A legal injunction delayed the publication until two days after Hawkesworth's Account had appeared.[95]


In 1959, the Cooktown Re-enactment Association first performed a re-enactment of Cook's 1770 landing at the site of modern Cooktown, Australia, and have continued the tradition each year, with the support and participation of many of the local Guugu Yimithirr people. They celebrate the first act of reconciliation between Indigenous Australians and non-Indigenous people, based on a particular incident. Cook and his crew had developed a friendly relationship with the local people, recording more than 130 words of their language. However, after the crew refused to share 12 green turtles which they had caught, thus violating local customs, the locals became angry. A Guugu Yimithirr elder stepped in, presenting Cook with a broken-tipped spear as a peace offering, thus preventing an escalation which could have ended in bloodshed.[96][97]

In 1970 Hans Hass shot the documentary television film Unsere Reise mit James Cook (Our Journey with James Cook), in which he retraced Cook's journey through the barrier reef using Cook's journal. Hass dived at various locations.

In 2001, the BBC set about making a documentary series The Ship: Retracing Cook's Endeavour Voyage which involved a film crew, volunteers and historians retracing part of the voyage made by Cook – from Cairns to Jakarta. One of the historians, Alexander Cook, documented the journey in his 2004 article "Sailing on The Ship: Re-enactment and the Quest for Popular History".[98]

See also

Notes and references


  1. ^ In today's terms, this equates to a valuation for Endeavour of approximately £265,000 and a purchase price of £326,400.[99]
  2. ^ This date does not need adjustment because it occurred during the afternoon (p.m.) on 29 April in the ship's log, but was the afternoon of the civil date of 28 April, 14 hours west of port, which is now a civil date 10 hours east of port, 24 hours later, hence a modern civil date of 29 April.


  1. ^ a b Beaglehole 1974, pp. 193–194
  2. ^ Rigby & van der Merwe 2002, p. 24.
  3. ^ "Secret Instructions to Lieutenant Cook 30 July 1768 (UK)". National Library of Australia. 2005. Archived from the original on 21 July 2008. Retrieved 26 August 2008.
  4. ^ Lloyd's Evening Post, 5 August; The St. James's Chronicle, 6 August; Courier du Bas-Rhin (Cleves), 20 August 1768.
  5. ^ Also in Lloyd's Evening Post, 19 August; The New York Journal, 3 November 1768, The Boston Chronicle (Boston, Massachusetts), 29 September 1768 and The Boston Weekly New-Letter (Boston), 7 November 1768.
  6. ^ The Gazetteer, 20 June 1768; Augsburgische Ordinari Postzeitung (Augsburg), 12 Julii 1768; The Boston Chronicle [Massachusetts], 12 September 1768, The Georgia Gazette (Savannah, Georgia), 29 September 1768.
  7. ^ Alexander Dalrymple, An Historical Collection of the Several Voyages and Discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean, Vol. I, London, 1767 and 1770, pp. xxviii–xxix.
  8. ^ a b A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol. 12 at Project Gutenberg, editor Robert Kerr's introduction footnote 3
  9. ^ McDermott, Peter Joseph (6 November 1878). "Pacific Exploration". The Brisbane Courier. Brisbane Newspaper Company Ltd. p. 5. Archived from the original on 10 March 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2008.
  10. ^ Rigby & van der Merwe 2002, p. 30.
  11. ^ a b McLintock, A. H., ed. (1966). "Ships, Famous". An Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Ministry for Culture and Heritage/Te Manatū Taonga, Government of New Zealand. Archived from the original on 1 August 2009. Retrieved 5 May 2009.
  12. ^ Hosty & Hundley 2003, p. 41
  13. ^ Blainey 2008, p. 17
  14. ^ Knight, C. (1933). "H.M. Bark Endeavour". Mariner's Mirror. 19 (3). United Kingdom: Nautical Research Guild: 292–302. doi:10.1080/00253359.1933.10655709.
  15. ^ Hosty & Hundley 2003, p. 61
  16. ^ Marquardt 1995, p. 18.
  17. ^ Marquardt 1995, p. 13.
  18. ^ Minutes of the Royal Navy Victualling Board, 15 June 1768, cited in Beaglehole 1968, p. 613
  19. ^ McLynn, Frank (2011). Captain Cook: Master of the Seas. Yale University Press. p. 114. ISBN 9780300172201.
  20. ^ "Leaves from an Old Diary". Chambers's Edinburgh Journal. No. 525. Edinburgh: William & Robert Chambers. 17 January 1874. pp. 46–48 (47).
  21. ^ Beaglehole 1968, p. cclxxix.
  22. ^ Cameron-Ash 2018, p. 95.
  23. ^ Beaglehole 1968, p. 588.
  24. ^ Beaglehole 1968, p. cxxx.
  25. ^ Hough 1995, pp. 63–64.
  26. ^ Holmes, Richard (2009). The Age of Wonder. HarperPress., p. 10. Holmes incorrectly states that Green's first name was William, not Charles.
  27. ^ Beaglehole 1968, p. 4.
  28. ^ Antonio Camillo de Oliveira, "Bicentenârio da Passâgem do Capitão Cook pelo Rio de Janeiro", Revista do Instituto Histôrico e Geogrâfico Brasileiro, vol. 290, January–March 1971, pp. 93–120.[1] Archived 15 February 2023 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ James Cook, "Description of the Bay or River of Rio de Janeiro"; cited in Pedro da Cunha e Menezes e Júlio Bandeira, O Rio de Janeiro na Rota dos Mares do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2004, p. 44.
  30. ^ Molony, John (2016). Captain James Cook, claiming the Great South Land. Conor Court. pp. 40–43. ISBN 978-1925501285.
  31. ^ Blainey 2020, pp. 33–35.
  32. ^ Molony, John. (2016), p. 21
  33. ^ "Cook's Journal: Daily Entries : 3 June 1769". National Library of Australia. Archived from the original on 26 August 2018. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
  34. ^ Wright, A (2004). "Captain Cook and the black drop". Nature. 429 (6989): 257. doi:10.1038/429257a. PMID 15152238. S2CID 4429918.
  35. ^ Blainey 2020, p. 35.
  36. ^ "Secret Instructions to Captain Cook, 30 June 1768" (PDF). National Archives of Australia. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 August 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2007.
  37. ^ Blainey 2020, pp. 38–43.
  38. ^ Blainey 2020, pp. 46–49.
  39. ^ James Cook, The Journals, Penguin Classics, pp. 67–68
  40. ^ Molony, John, (2016), p. 52
  41. ^ Beaglehole 1974, p. 197.
  42. ^ Beaglehole 1974, pp. 198–200.
  43. ^ Beaglehole 1974, p. 202.
  44. ^ Frame, William; Walker, Laura (2018). James Cook. MQUP. doi:10.2307/j.ctt201mpnk. ISBN 978-0773554047. S2CID 243901920.
  45. ^ Beaglehole 1974, pp. 202–204.
  46. ^ Molony, John, (2016), pp. 57–58
  47. ^ Beaglehole 1974, pp. 205–207.
  48. ^ "Cook's Journal: Daily Entries, 31 January 1770". South Seas. Archived from the original on 13 April 2019. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  49. ^ Blainey 2020, pp. 99–102.
  50. ^ Beaglehole 1974, pp. 210–211.
  51. ^ Cameron-Ash 2018, p. 137.
  52. ^ Blainey 2020, pp. 113–115.
  53. ^ Beaglehole 1974, p. 215.
  54. ^ Beaglehole 1974, p. 218.
  55. ^ Blainey 2020, pp. 117–118.
  56. ^ Blainey 2020, pp. 120–121.
  57. ^ Blainey 2020, p. 122.
  58. ^ Cameron-Ash 2018, pp. 139–145.
  59. ^ Mawer, G. A. (2018). "Lying for the Admiralty: Captain Cook's Endeavour voyage [Book Review]". The Globe. 84: 59–61 – via ProQuest.
  60. ^ W.J.L. Wharton, Captain Cook's Journal During the First Voyage Round the World, London, 1893. Archived 15 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine See also J. C. Beaglehole and R. A. Skelton (eds.), The Journals of Captain James Cook on His Voyages of Discovery, Vol. 1, The Voyage of the Endeavor, 1768–1771, Cambridge University Press for the Hakluyt Society, 1955, p. 290.
  61. ^ W.J.L. Wharton, Captain Cook's Journal During the First Voyage Round the World, London, 1893. Archived 15 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine See also J. C. Beaglehole and R. A. Skelton (eds.), The Journals of Captain James Cook on His Voyages of Discovery, Vol. 1, The Voyage of the Endeavor, 1768–1771, Cambridge University Press for the Hakluyt Society, 1955, pp. 272–273.
  62. ^ John Harris, Navigantium atque Itinerantium Bibilotheca or A Complete Collection of Voyages and Travels, revised by John Campbell, London, 1764, p. 332; cited in J. C. Beaglehole and R. A. Skelton (eds.), The Journals of Captain James Cook on His Voyages of Discovery, Vol. 1, The Voyage of the Endeavor, 1768–1771, Cambridge University Press and the Hakluyt Society, 1955, p. lxxvi.
  63. ^ a b Beaglehole 1974, pp. 226–228
  64. ^ "Who was the first European to land on 'Terra Australis'?". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 21 May 2024.
  65. ^ Cook, James (19 April 1770). "Cook's Journal: Daily Entries". National Library of Australia, South Seas Collection. Archived from the original on 7 March 2020. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
  66. ^ "Points Hicks". Captain Cook Society. Archived from the original on 18 October 2020. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
  67. ^ Blainey 2020, p. 305.
  68. ^ Lipscombe, Trevor (2015). "Cook's Point Hicks: Error That Just Won't Go Away". Cook's Log. 38 (2): 26–32. Archived from the original on 19 September 2020. Retrieved 19 October 2020 – via The Captain Cook Society.
  69. ^ Arthur R. Hinks, "Nautical time and civil date", The Geographical Journal, 86 (1935) 153–157.
  70. ^ "Voices heard but not understood". Gujaga Foundation. 29 April 2020. Archived from the original on 8 March 2022. Retrieved 28 May 2022.
  71. ^ Donaldson, Mike; Jacobs, Mary; Bursill, Les (2017). "A History of Aboriginal Illawarra, Volume 2 : Colonisation". University of Wollongong - Research Online.
  72. ^ "Cook's Journal: Daily Entries, 29 April 1770". South Seas. Archived from the original on 8 April 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
  73. ^ Blainey 2020, pp. 141–143.
  74. ^ Smith, Keith Vincent (2009). "Confronting Cook". Electronic British Library Journal (2009). Archived from the original on 6 October 2022. Retrieved 21 June 2022.
  75. ^ FitzSimons, Peter (2019). James Cook : the story behind the man who mapped the world. Sydney, NSW: Hachette. ISBN 978-0-7336-4127-5. OCLC 1109734011.
  76. ^ Blainey 2020, pp. 146–157.
  77. ^ Beaglehole 1974, p. 230.
  78. ^ Blainey 2020, p. 287.
  79. ^ Beaglehole 1968, pp. 312–313.
  80. ^ Phillip, Arthur (11 April 1787). Comments on a draft of his instructions. TNA CO 201/2, f.128–131.
  81. ^ a b "Cook's Journal: Daily Entries, 22 May 1770". South Seas. Archived from the original on 12 April 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  82. ^ Blainey 2020, pp. 220–221.
  83. ^ Robson 2004, p. 81.
  84. ^ Cook, James (21 August 1770). "Cook's Journal: Daily Entries". National Library of Australia. Archived from the original on 8 April 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
  85. ^ Cook, James, Journal of the HMS Endeavour, 1768–1771, National Library of Australia, Manuscripts Collection, MS 1, 22 August 1770
  86. ^ G. Williams (2002)[full citation needed]
  87. ^ W. J. L. Wharton, (ed.), Captain Cook’s Journal during his First Voyage Round the World, made in H.M. Bark Endeavour, 1768–1771, London, Elliot Stock, 1893, p. 274, entry of 11 June 1770.
  88. ^ Damian Cole, "Bel et utile", David Pool (ed.), Mapping Our World: Terra Incognita to Australia, Canberra, National Library of Australia, 2013, p. 181. Didier Robert de Vaugondy. Carte Réduite de l’Australasie, image Archived 12 September 2021 at the Wayback Machine
  89. ^ a b Beaglehole 1968, p. 74
  90. ^ Wilcox, Ten Who Dared at 97 (Boston: Little, Brown & Co. 1977).
  91. ^ Beaglehole 1968, p. clxvi.
  92. ^ Villiers 1967, p. 151.
  93. ^ Ravneberg, Ronald L. "The Hawkesworth Copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 July 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  94. ^ Salmond, Anne (2009). Aphrodite's Island: The European Discovery of Tahiti. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520261143.
  95. ^ Beaglehole 1974, p. 459.
  96. ^ Kim, Sharnie; Stephen, Adam (19 June 2020). "Cooktown's Indigenous people help commemorate 250 years since Captain Cook's landing with re-enactment". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 6 July 2020. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  97. ^ Banks, Joseph (19 July 1770). "Banks's Journal: Daily Entries". National Library of Australia. Archived from the original on 21 May 2020. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  98. ^ Cook, Alexander (Spring 2004). "Sailing on the Ship: Re-enactment and the Quest for Popular History". History Workshop Journal. 57 (57): 247–255. doi:10.1093/hwj/57.1.247. hdl:1885/54218.
  99. ^ "Purchasing Power of British Pounds from 1264 to Present". MeasuringWorth. 2009. Archived from the original on 19 September 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2009.