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Captain James Cook was one of the truly great explorers, but did other Europeans land on the east coast first?

Archaeologists in Australia said that a discovered shipwreck found in 2002 could prove that the British explorer, Captain James Cook (1728-1779) was not the first European to discover Australia's eastern coast.

The archaeological team found the 30-metre-long wreck on Fraser Island, off the coast of the eastern state of Queensland.......
Photo. A statue of the great explorer Captain James Cook in Anchorage, Alaska. The person next to the statue is the author of this article. This photo was taken 8 July 1997.

According to BBC News` website, 7 October 2002, the team leader, Greg Jeffreys, says four cannon on the ship suggest it was a European, but not English, vessel from the 17th Century - pre-dating Captain Cook's arrival in Australia in 1770 (BBC News: News - BBC - Pacific ).

Captain James Cook was born in England. His life was a real adventure. He combined great skills and courage in order to go far in his adventures, and through his actions made life on the sea much safer for future generations. During his relative short life he achieved many great things on his adventurous journeys.

He has been considered as "the man who saw the whole world first". He travelled from his homeland Great Britain to lands where few had gone before; bringing home much for his country. He was a discoverer, a mapmaker, and an innovator in the process of long distance sea travel. Actual he was a man before his time.  

Photo. The Great Barrier Reef in Australia - a great natural wonder.

In 1770, Captain James Cook and his ship, the "Endeavour", ran afoul of the Great Barrier Reef and seriously damaged the hull.

To avoid sinking, all the crew and stores had to be offloaded in order to free the "Endeavour" from the reef.

It was with this new dietary regime that Cook the explorer set off on his second voyage, aboard the ‘Resolution' accompanied by the ship "Adventure". His aim was to prove the existence of the great southern continent Antarctica.

He managed to circle the continent, but couldn't reach it to prove its existence, due to the ships' inability to penetrate thick ice. The good news upon returning to England however was that there was a fatality rate of less than 1% caused by disease, due to his dietary reforms.

James Cook's third and final great voyage was performed in an attempt to find a Northwest Passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic. After rounded the Cape of Good Hope in 1778, he passed the western coast of North America, and attempted to pass through the Arctic Ocean.

Thick ice prevented him from continuing, so he returned his ship to a Hawaiian island to replenish stores and refurbish his ship. A second attempt the next year was also unsuccessful, so he returned once more to the island. This time the theft of one of Cook's boats caused him to go ashore to confront the natives. After a heated argument, fighting broke out, and Captain James Cook was killed.

Stein Morten Lund, 31 March 2005

Additional information
Read the story about his life on BBC`s website: BBC - history - James Cook.

Read more about Captain James Cook in the book "Captain James Cook", which is a biography written by Richard Hough. It`s gives new insight in the life of one of the world`s greates mariners and explorers.

Do you like to follow the footprints to Captain James Cook, you can also read more about him and the places his travelled to on our website.

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Meeting the Mudmen
in Papua New Guinea

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