What Is James Cook Famous For?

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According to Biography.com, James Cook was a British explorer and cartographer most famous for leading the ship Endeavor to discover New Zealand and the Great Barrier Reef off of the coast of Australia in 1770. His map renderings of the Pacific ocean were considered to be the first accurate depictions available of the area.

James Cook was also well-known for his comprehensive maps of Newfoundland, a large island off the northeast coast of Canada. His crew were among the healthiest of any ship crews in Cook’s time. This was due largely in part to Cook’s requirements that his crew bathe daily and subsist on a diet of fresh fruit to fend off scurvy. Cook received a Copley Gold Medal for this accomplishment in 1776. At the time of Cook’s second voyage between 1772 and 1775, rumors were swirling that there was a continent located in the South Pacific called “Terra Australis.” During Cook’s search for it, he became the first European navigator to travel below 70 degrees latitude, according to Ducksters. Cook was eventually able to disprove the existence of Terra Australis. Cook was also commissioned to find Antarctica, but his voyage never reached the continent because he had to change his course to restock his supplies in Tahiti.