January 17, 2023

James Hamilton “Captain James Cook and the Search for the Antarctica"


James Cook FRS (7 November 1728[NB 1] – 14 February 1779) was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the British Royal Navy, famous for his three voyages between 1768 and 1779 in the Pacific Ocean and to New Zealand and Australia in particular. He made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific, during which he achieved the first recorded European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and the Hawaiian Islands, and the first recorded circumnavigation of New Zealand.

HMS Endeavour was a British Royal Navy research vessel that Lieutenant James Cook commanded to Australia and New Zealand on his first voyage of discovery from 1768 to 1771.


On 17 January 1773, Resolution was the first ship to venture south of the Antarctic Circle, which she did twice more on this voyage. The final such crossing, on 3 February 1774, was to be the most southerly penetration, reaching latitude 71°10′ South at longitude 106°54′ West. Cook undertook a series of vast sweeps across the Pacific, finally proving there was no Terra Australis in temperate latitudes by sailing over most of its predicted locations.

In the course of the voyage he visited Easter Island, the Marquesas, Tahiti, the Society Islands, Niue, the Tonga Islands, the New Hebrides, New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, Palmerston Island, South Sandwich Islands, and South Georgia, many of which he named in the process. Cook proved the Terra Australis Incognita to be a myth and predicted that an Antarctic land would be found beyond the ice barrier.

Cook's reports upon his return home put to rest the popular myth of Terra Australis. Another accomplishment of the second voyage was the successful employment of the Larcum Kendall K1 chronometer, which enabled Cook to calculate his longitudinal position with much greater accuracy. Cook's log was full of praise for the watch which he used to make charts of the southern Pacific Ocean that were so remarkably accurate that copies of them were still in use in the mid-20th century. Cook was promoted to the rank of captain and given an honorary retirement from the Royal Navy, as an officer in the Greenwich Hospital. His acceptance of the post was reluctant, insisting that he be allowed to quit the post if the opportunity for active duty presented itself. His fame now extended beyond the Admiralty and he was also made a Fellow of the Royal Society and awarded the Copley Gold Medal, painted by Nathaniel Dance-Holland, dined with James Boswell and described in the House of Lords as "the first navigator in Europe".

Video Title: James Hamilton “Captain James Cook and the Search for the Antarctica" 1-10-2021. Source: Sioux City Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. Date Published: Jan 10, 2021. Description: 

James C. Hamilton presents “Captain James Cook and the Search for the Antarctica—Plus a Lewis and Clark Connection.” Hamilton’s presentation brings together the stories of the Antarctic journeys written in Cook’s journals and the logbooks of the officers who sailed with him. Hamilton will provide fascinating insight into the exceptional seamanship and navigational skills Cook displayed during his bouts with foul weather. After Cook’s adventure, Thomas Jefferson along with Lewis and Clark, read Cook’s journals. Hamilton will tie this connection together for audience members during his presentation.

Video Title: Is this shipwreck Captain Cook's Endeavour? | A Current Affair. Source: A Current Affair. Date Published: February 15, 2022. Description: 
Maritime archaeologists Keiran Hosty and James Hunter claim the English-built Endeavour lies on the seabed off Newport Rhode Island on America's east coast, where it ended up after its voyage down under.