- from Explorers
Captain James Cook was a great explorer. His first two voyages had taken him around the world two times and all over the southern Pacific Ocean. He traveled farther south than anyone had ever been before, even crossing the Antarctic Circle.
He made friends among the people of Tahiti and reported on their way of life. His charts were astonishingly accurate. Scientists and artists on his expeditions collected artifacts and specimens and kept drawings and journals describing cultures never before heard of. Cook was a marvelous leader, too. He had not lost one single person to scurvy, the dreaded disease that had proved fatal on so many other voyages.
For his third trip, the British wanted Cook to find a trade route through northern America to the fabulous wealth of China and the East. The hopes of the entire British Empire rested on his shoulders.