Captain James Cook landing at Erramanga, New Hebrides, 1774.
© NMeM / Daily Herald Archive / Science & Society Picture Library
Captain James Cook (1728-1779) landing at Erramanga, New Hebrides. Cook, 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 (1768-1771), he explored New Zealand and surveyed and claimed the east coast of Australia for Britain. On his second voyage (1772-1775) he explored the Antarctic, Tahiti and the New Hebrides. On his final voyage he explored the west coast of North America and Hawaii, where he was killed by natives on 14 February 1779.