Cart empty
My Cart

26 August, 1768 began the first circumnavigation of James Cook

On the 26th of August 1768 began the first world expedition of James Cook. The main purpose of the voyage was astronomical observations: the study of how the Venus comes across the Sun. But in secret documents James Cook was ordered to go in search of the southern continent. In addition, it was ordered to find the east coast of Australia, which in those days was not known. It should be noted that at that time it was a serious struggle for the new colony between the two countries. Sure, England would do well if on the world map appear its new lands.

Obviously, the astronomical research was just a cover, which should be prying eyes from looking new British colonies. By the way, the choice of the Admiralty at James Cook fell not by accident. By this time, he was already an experienced sailor, who perfectly understood navigation and cartography, and knew how to chart maps.

On the 26th of August on a small boat "Endeavour" expedition started from Plymouth. The team included two botany and two painters, an astronomer, a member of the Royal Society, the ship's surgeon, 12 Marines and 40 sailors. 7 months later, in April, 1769 the ship reached shores of Tahiti. According to the order the Admiralty, the crew had to maintain a friendship with the natives, so Cook set strict discipline. Soon, contact with the islanders was established.

After astronomical research was finished, the ship set off to New Zealand. In this voyage Cook took one of the local chiefs and his servant. But it did not help to establish peaceful relations with New Zealanders. Despite all the efforts of the team, hassles happened. Then the "Endeavour" continued the journey along the west coast where Cook found a convenient anchorage bay. If you examine the map of New Zealand, you can see the bay, which Cook named the Bay of Queen Charlotte. It was here that it was decided to pull the boat and mend it. While the crew was busy, Cook climbed the hill and saw that the New Zealand Strait separates the two islands. Later on the world map appears this strait, which will be named in honor of James Cook.

In April 1770 Cook was at the east coast of Australia. On the shore of the bay, where the ship stopped, researchers have found many previously unknown species. For this reason, the newly opened Gulf later appeared on the map entitled "Botanical". Next expedition proceeded along the east coast of Australia, in the north-west.

On the 11th of July the team faced the challenge: "Endeavour" ran ashore, which seriously damaged the lining. Thanks to the efforts of the team, the ship managed to refloat, but water began to get in through the hole. It was obvious that the ship needs repairs. After six days of unsuccessful search, Cook was able to find a suitable place for the repair. The sailors pulled the ship to shore, and patched holes. When it was time to continue the voyage, it was found that the expedition was trapped: in a narrow strip of water between the shore and the Reef of Australia, where there were many submerged rocks and shoals.

In order to get around the reef, the expedition was forced to follow the north and cover a distance of 360 miles. Despite appearing from time to time gaps in the Great Barrier Reef, Cook ignored them and continued to swim slowly in this direction. This allowed to observe the coast directly from the open sea. Thus the team soon came across the Strait, which runs between Australia and New Guinea.

Later the ship went through the strait to Jakarta. In Indonesia, the team was stricken by malaria, and people began to die. By the time the "Endeavour" arrived in the port of Cape Town, the team contained only 12 people, that could work. The ship returned to England in July 1771 with heavy losses.

The main purpose of the voyage, which has been declared as the astronomical study was achieved. But due to the imperfections of equipment of that time, the measurements were not accurate enough. During the voyage, it was found that the New Earth is two separate islands, which are separated by the strait. Now this is clearly seen on any map, whereas previously the New Earth was considered part of a single unknown continent. Plus, Cook mapped the east coast of Australia. The expedition had collected many biological specimens.

This Day in History 26-08-2012