Historic: First Voyage of James Cook
|born on||26 August 1768 at 14:00 (= 2:00 PM )|
|Place||Plymouth, England, 50n23, 4w10|
|Timezone||LMT m4w10 (is local mean time)|
|Astrology data||03°45' 14°59 Asc. 08°19'|
British exploratory voyage, a combined Royal Navy and Royal Society expedition to the south Pacific Ocean aboard HMS Endeavour, from 1768 to 1771. It was the first of three Pacific voyages of which James Cook was the commander. The aims of this first expedition were to observe the 1769 transit of Venus across the Sun (3–4 June of that year), and to seek evidence of the postulated Terra Australis Incognita or "unknown southern land".
The voyage was commissioned by King George III and commanded by Lieutenant James Cook, a junior naval officer with good skills in cartography and mathematics. Departing from Plymouth-Dock (Devonport) in August 1768, the expedition crossed the Atlantic, rounded Cape Horn and reached Tahiti in time to observe the transit of Venus. Cook then set sail into the largely uncharted ocean to the south, stopping at the Pacific islands of Huahine, Borabora and Raiatea to claim them for Great Britain, and unsuccessfully attempting to land at Rurutu. In September 1769 the expedition reached New Zealand, being the second Europeans to visit there, following the first European discovery by Abel Tasman 127 years earlier. Cook and his crew spent the following six months charting the New Zealand coast, before resuming their voyage westward across open sea. In April 1770 they became the first Europeans to reach the east coast of Australia, making landfall at Point Hicks, and then proceeding to Botany Bay.
The expedition continued northward along the Australian coastline, narrowly avoiding shipwreck on the Great Barrier Reef. In October 1770 the badly damaged Endeavour came into the port of Batavia in the Dutch East Indies, her crew sworn to secrecy about the lands they had discovered. They resumed their journey on 26 December, rounded the Cape of Good Hope on 13 March 1771, and reached the English port of Deal on 12 July. The voyage lasted almost three years.
The year following his return Cook set out on a second voyage of the Pacific, which lasted from 1772 to 1775. His third and final voyage lasted from 1776 to 1779.
- compare to chart of Cook, James (born 7 November 1728)
- compare to chart of Historic: Second Voyage of James Cook (born 13 July 1772)
- compare to chart of Historic: Third Voyage of James Cook (born 12 July 1776)
Sy Scholfield quotes from the 26 August 1768 entry in The Journals of Captain Cook (Penguin, 2003): "At 2pm got under sail and put to sea having on board 94 persons including Officers..."
- Mundane : Misc. Mundane : Historic milestones (Start of epic voyage)