Medal showing Captain James Cook , 1770-1780.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Bronze medal struck by the Royal Society of London to commemorate English navigator and explorer Captain James Cook (1728-1779). Cook transformed the West's knowledge of the Pacific and Southern Ocean after making three exploratory voyages and circumnavigating the globe twice. During his first voyage in command of 'Endeavour' (1768-1771), New Zealand was circumnavigated and the east coast of Australia surveyed and claimed for Britain. On his second voyage (1772-1775) he explored the Antartic, Tahiti and the New Hebrides. On his final voyage he explored the coast of America and Hawaii, where he was killed by natives.