Australia and New Zealand by James Cook: Discovering the World

Australia and New Zealand by James Cook: Discovering the World

April 29, 1770 Explorer James Cook discovered Botany Bay In Australia, Sydney was born soon after, so today we look back on the history of these journeys.

The young James, the son of a Scottish farmer, immediately showed excellent skills and a great passion for navigation, quickly climbing the hierarchy of the merchant navy. He volunteered in the Royal Navy and participated in the Seven Years’ War. Here he showed all his skills, including those of a cartographer It drew the attention of the famous Royal Society, which is one of the most important scientific institutions in the world.


So in 1768 the English government put him at the helm of a scientific expedition, and after that his expedition to two more. Cook’s three missions revealed a part of our planet that remains shrouded in mystery. They contributed to changing the outlook and laying the foundations for the most important scientific research in the following century.

These flights had very specific goals: The first wasObserve the transit of Venus in front of the sun; The second to discover the famous Terra australis, A continent located in the southernmost part of the Earth and whose existence was assumed for centuries; The third had to instead select the infamous To the northwest This made it possible to reach the Pacific Ocean via the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

Despite the skill of the cook and his crew, These three campaigns But they failed to achieve their main goal It led to huge discoveries Further exploration is boosted. Plus there are files It has identified and mapped valuable and vast lands with amazing precisionLike New Zealand and Australia, Cook’s travels have hosted great scholars They documented plants, animals, and places that were not yet known. They brought back to Europe the rich and ethnographic collections Revealing the existence of unknown societies and cultures.

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All this was possible Thanks to Cook’s attention to the science of the timesAnd the Take advantage of wonderful discoveries. For example: the poor accuracy of ancient maps was due to an error in measuring longitude, which required accurate hours to be deduced. Those with the pendulum actually suffered from the stress of navigation and ruined the work of the cartographers.

Cook used instead The clocks invented by John Harrison And it was refined by the best English watchmakers of the time: instruments capable of resisting vibrations that made his work flawless. With the same experience he was among the first to come forward Discoveries of the English physician James Lind Who understood that scurvy, the evil of sailors, could be defeated with foods that we now know are rich in vitamin C. On his long voyages, Cook made sure his men ate sauerkraut and citrus fruits, thus saving the crew and ships.

James Cook died in 1779, on his third voyageIn a violent confrontation with the inhabitants of Hawaii in mysterious circumstances, But his exploits still have a lot to teach us. Their story he is A metaphor for scholarly research: Any exploration possible thanks to previously accumulated knowledge; The main goal is not always fulfilled, but each journey brings new knowledge and questions with it, and thus leads to An extraordinary cultural advance. Scientific research is a form of exploring the world Without which our mental boundaries would remain narrow and confused, a little like the world before Cook’s travels.

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