Model of Captain Cook's 'Endeavour', c 1770-1800.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Captain James Cook (1728-1779) an English navigator and explorer, 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.