Map of Cook's voyages, c 1780.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraved frontispiece by T Conder from 'Complete History of Captain Cook's First, Second and Third Voyages' (1784). Captain James Cook (1728-1779), the famed navigator and hydrographer, transformed the West's knowledge of the Pacific region. The principal aim of his third voyage was to find a northern sea passage between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Having set sail from Hawaii in 1779, Cook returned to the islands after his ship 'Resolution' suffered storm damage, after which a fight broke out and he was stabbed to death. John Franklin (1786-1847) was credited with the discovery of the Northwest Passage in the 1840s.