'An Exact Representation of the Death of Captain James Cook...', 1779.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by Alexander Hogg entitled 'An Exact Representation of the Death of Captain James Cook FRS at Karakakooa Bay in Owhyhee [sic] on February 14 1779', from 'Complete History of Captain Cook's First, Second and Third Voyages' published by Hogg in 1784. Cook (1728-1779), the famed navigator and hydrographer, transformed the West's knowledge of the Pacific region after making three exploratory voyages there and circumnavigating the globe twice. On this, his last voyage, his aim was to discover the Northwest Pasage. On landing at Karakakooa (Kealakekua) Bay in Hawaii (now part of the USA) in order to recover a stolen boat, the Hawaiians, who had at first been friendly, attacked and killed Cook. The reasons are not clear; their actions may have been due to fear or confusion.