Captain Cook Time-line

Cook's Life & Time-line
27 Oct 1728 James Cook is born the son of a casual farm labourer in a tiny cottage in Marton in Cleveland. His father had married Grace Pace at Stainton in Cleveland in 1725 and between 1727 and 1745 they have eight children, four dying in infancy. The eldest, John, is to die later aged just 23 and only James and two sisters Christiana and Margaret live through to adulthood.
1735 With the opportunity of full-time employment the family move to Aireyholme farm near the village of Great Ayton where James' father becomes bailiff. He is employed by Thomas Skottowe of Ayton Hall who owns extensive estates in the area.
1740 Mr Skottowe pays for young James to attend the nearby Postgate School at Great Ayton. Here Cook learns well, especially arithmetic. On leaving school at the age of about twelve, James works on the farm alongside his father and brother for a while.
1744 Cook's proficiency in letters and numbers is such that Mr Skottowe obtains a position for him as an assistant in a general dealers shop belonging to Mr. William Sanderson at Staithes. Here he hears tales of the sea and seamanship and soon Sanderson recognises that Cook's interests lie elsewhere than shopkeeping.
1746 After just eighteen months in Staithes, Sanderson recommends the youngster to a Quaker - John Walker of Whitby a shipowner who runs collier vessels to London and the Baltic. Apprenticed to Captain Walker, Cook goes to sea on the 341 ton coal-carrying ship 'Freelove'. Cook lives in the attic of Walker's house in Grape Lane when ashore, where he studies navigation and the use of nautical instruments.
1752 At the age of 23 Cook is promoted to mate on the 'Friendship', another of Walker's collier vessels.
17 Jun 1755 He declines an offer of the command of the 'Friendship' and volunteers for service as an ordinary seaman with the Royal Navy. He is drafted to the fourth rate 60 gun ship HMS Eagle where he is soon promoted to master's mate and sees action in the Channel under Captain Hugh Palliser, later to become member of parliament for Scarborough and Cook's lifelong supporter.
30 Jun 1757 Discharged from 'Eagle', Cook now joins HMS Solebay at Leith in Scotland.
27 Oct 1757 Cook, now a 'master', is drafted to HMS Pembroke, part of the squadron under Admiral Boscowen which is sent to Halifax, Nova Scotia in April 1758. The Pembroke crosses the Atlantic in record time but 29 men are lost on the way from scurvy - a fact which is to influence Cook's care for the welfare of his later crews. He was present at the capture of the French base of Louisbourg. There he meets the militaty surveyor Samuel Holland from whom he learns new techniques. His charting of the St. Lawrence leads to the storming of Quebec and the end of French domination in Canada. Cook remains in eastern Canada carrying out survey work on HMS Northumberland, and when Captain Palliser is appointed Governor of Newfoundland, Cook gets his first command as master of the Grenville his first real survey ship.
21 Dec 1762 Cook marries Elizabeth Batts, thirteen years his junior, at St Margaret's church, Barking in Essex.
May 1763 Cook sails to Newfoundland again as surveyor, making accurate surveys of the coast from land & sea, returning to England each winter to draw up and publish his charts.
13 Oct 1763 First son, James, born. (drowned 25/1/1794).
14 Dec 1764 Second son, Nathaniel, born. (drowned 5/10/1780).
1766 Solar eclipse observed at Cape Race.
1767 Only daughter, Elizabeth, born. (died 9/4/1771).
First voyage begins
1 Aug 1768 Commissioned lieutenant, James Cook, sails on his first voyage of discovery on board the Whitby-built HM Bark Endeavour to observe the transit of Venus over the sun's disc in Tahiti, and with secret orders which are to lead him to New Zealand.
26 Aug 1768 Third son, Joseph, born. he dies just a month later on 13 September without Cook ever seeing him.
7 Oct 1769 Cook's cabin boy Nicholas Young is reputed to be the first to spot New Zealand and the point is logged as Young Nick's Head. Cook is aware that the Dutch explorer, Tasman, had sighted New Zealand some 100 years before, but was seen off by Maori and did not land. Cook charts the entire coastline of the country Tasman had seen, and discovers it is two large islands. He is also aware that there is land to the west, whose western, and in part southern and northern shores had been found by the Dutch but whose eastern seaboard was entirely unkown. Leaving New Zealand on roughly the same latitude as the known land had been plotted, Cook sails westwards.
20 April 1770 The eastern seaboard of Australia is sighted at Point Hicks.
28 April 1770 Cook lands in an area he originally charted as Stingray Harbour because of its local occupants, but because of the great profusion of plants and flowers he re-names Botany Bay. He first names the area South Wales, but later changes it to New South Wales He charts the eastern coastline of Australia and continues to New Guinea and Java.
12 Jun 1771 Cook returns to England in Endeavour after two years and 11 months, having travelled some 30,000 miles and charted over 5,000 miles of coastline.
30 Jan 1772 Now a nationally known figure, Cook returns to Whitby for a visit which is to prove his last. He also sees his father's home at Great Ayton for the last time. Later the same year, the family sell the cottage (In 1934 the cottage was transhpped to Australia and it now stands in Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne). Cook's father later moves to Redcar to live with his married daughter, now Margaret Fleck.
8 July 1772 Fourth son, George, born. (dies 1 October 1772).
Second voyage begins
13 July 1772 The Whitby built HMS Resolution is Cook's chosen vessel for his second voyage of discovery on which he is accompanied by the A dventure, also Whitby built. Cook now a captain is tasked to map out the Great Southern Continent which is believed to lie in the temperate regions of the Southern Ocean.
17 Jan 1773 Cook and 'Resolution' cross the Antarctic Circle for the first time in history.
21 Dec 1773 Second crossing of the Antarctic Circle.
26 Jan 1774 Third crossing of Antarctic Circle takes place, the last. Cook reaches 71°10's sailing further south than any other captain and proves that an inhabitable Great Southern Continent does not exist. The Antarctic Circle is not crossed again for nearly half a century.
1774 'Adventure' returns home, while Cook continues to explore and circumnavigate the South Seas.
30 July 1775 'Resolution' returns with Cook to England after 3 years & 18 days, and anchors at Spithead. Cook has become the first man ever to have circumnavigated the world in both directions. He is received by King George III.
Feb 1776 Cook's memories of the 'Pembroke' crossing help his writing of a paper on 'The preservation of the health of the crews of ships on long voyages' of which he now has great experience. For this he is elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and awarded their gold medal.
23 May 1776 Fifth son, Hugh, born. (dies 21/12/1793).
Third voyage begins
12 July 1776 Cook's third voyage of discovery is to be his last. He sets sail on his promotion to Post Captain, with 'Resolution' and 'Discovery', the latter not joining up until 1st August. Objectives of the voyage are further exploration of the Pacific and to investigate the presence of an exit from the North West Passage.
1777 Expedition visits New Zealand, Tonga, Tahiti, and Christmas Island.
18 Jan 1778 Cook discovers the Sandwich Islands, now the Hawaiian islands.
7 Feb 1778 The Cook expedition crosses the Pacific eastwards to make landfall off the coast of Oregon. He turns northwards to discover Nootka Sound and British Columbia in his search for an exit from the elusive North West Passage.
25 April 1778 'Resolution' maintains northerly heading to reach Alaska, resting for a while in what Cook charted as Anchorage Bay.
8 Aug 1778 Cook sails into the Bering Straits but foiled by ice, returns due south to Hawaii where he arrives in January 1779 to prepare for another attempt at the North West Passage the next season.
4 Feb 1779 Cook leaves Kealakekua Bay but is forced to return because of a damaged foremast of 'Resolution'.
14 Feb 1779 The theft of a ship's cutter leads Captain Cook to put ashore to demand the return of the boat. The shore party is suddenly attacked by armed warriors and Cook is clubbed and stabbed to death. Two Royal Marines are also killed. After negotiations with the Hawaiians, Captain Clerke, now in command, is able to have parts of Cook's body returned. All have been scraped clean of flesh and burned in a fire, except some flesh from Cook's thigh, the scalp, and the hands. The hands are preserved with salt, and there are enough identifying marks that they are able to determine that it is Cook's body. The remains are put into a coffin, and with great ceremony are buried at sea in Kealakekua Bay on 21 February.
April 1779 James Cook senior dies without learning of the death of his son, and is buried at Marske near Redcar.
22 Aug 1779 Capt. Clerke dies in Kamchatka and is buried there. Lt. Gore assumes command of the expedition.
Jan 1780 News of Cook's death reaches England.
4 October 1780 After a further unsuccessful search for the North West Passage, remnants of the expedition under Lt. Gore return to England via Java and Cape Town, and arrives in the Thames having sailed via Stromness in Scotland due to unfavourable weather conditions.
13 May 1835 Death of Mrs Elizabeth Cook in Clapham, Surrey (aged 94).

There were no direct descendants of Cook bearing his name, his male children all died unmarried.

World renowned as explorer and navigator, Captain James Cook RN., FRS, was a supreme technician. His skill as a surveyor and draughtsman were to set the seal on the quality of British prepared charts which still exists today. His work led to the formation of the Royal Navy Survey Squadrons whose charts are second to none with every ship afloat carrying its share of Admiralty Charts.

Cook rose from the humble farm labourer's cottage to being commissioned in the Royal Navy, received by George III and acknowledged by the country for his achievements. It was said of him: "His general knowledge was extensive and various... the most determined resolution, he pursued his object with unshaken perseverance... Cool and intrepid among dangers : patient and firm under difficulties and distress... In every situation he stood unrivalled and alone; on him all eyes were turned: he was our leading star, which at its setting left us involved in darkness and despair".

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