About this Famous Person

James COOK

English James COOK

English explorer, navigator and cartographer

Source :  Robert MORGENTHALER

Born: on October 27, 1728 in Marton, Yorkshire, England
Died: on February 14, 1779 in Hawaii


Biography

Cook was born in the village of Marton in Yorkshire, today a suburb belonging to the town of Middlesbrough. He was baptised in the local church of St. Cuthbert's where today his name can be seen in the church register. Cook was the second of eight children of James Cook, a Scottish farm labourer, and his locally born wife Grace Pace from Thornaby on Tees. In 1736, his family moved to Airey Holme farm at Great Ayton, where his father's employer, Thomas Skottowe paid for him to attend the local school (now a museum). In 1741, after five years schooling, he began work for his father, who had by now been promoted to farm manager. For leisure he would climb a nearby hill, Roseberry Topping, enjoying the opportunity for solitude. Cook's Cottage, his parents' last home, which he is likely to have visited, is now in Melbourne, having been moved from England and reassembled brick by brick in 1934.

In 1745, when he was 16, Cook moved 20 miles (32 km) to the fishing village of Staithes to be apprenticed as a shop boy to grocer and haberdasher William Sanderson. Historians have speculated that this is where Cook first felt the lure of the sea while gazing out of the shop window.

After 18 months, not proving suitable for shop work, Cook travelled to the nearby port town of Whitby to be introduced to friends of Sanderson's, John and Henry Walker. The Walkers were prominent local ship-owners and Quakers, and were in the coal trade. Their house is now the Captain Cook Memorial Museum. Cook was taken on as a merchant navy apprentice in their small fleet of vessels plying coal along the English coast. His first assignment was aboard the collier Freelove, and he spent several years on this and various other coasters sailing between the Tyne and London.

As part of this apprenticeship, Cook applied himself to the study of algebra, geometry, trigonometry, navigation and astronomy, all skills he would need one day to command his own ship.

His three-year apprenticeship completed, Cook began working on trading ships in the Baltic Sea. He soon progressed through the merchant navy ranks, starting with his 1752 promotion to Mate (officer in charge of navigation) aboard the collier brig Friendship. In 1755, within a month of being offered command of this vessel, he volunteered for service in the Royal Navy, as Britain was re-arming for what was to become the Seven Years' War. Despite the need to start back at the bottom of the naval hierarchy, Cook realised his career would advance more quickly in military service and entered the Navy at Wapping on 7 June 1755.

Source :  © Copyright Wikipédia authors - This article is under licence CC BY-SA 3.0 .

See Also :

- Category Sailor