The English explorer Captain James Cook made three voyages between 1768 and 1779. On the first, he mapped New Zealand and the eastern coast of Australia. On the second, he crossed the Antarctic Circle, naming many islands along his route. On the third, he discovered the Hawaiian Islands.
The first trip was commissioned by the British government, on the surface, to observe the transit of Venus, but in reality to look for (and claim) the fabled "Great South Land". The mission was successful in the acquisition of the territory of New South Wales in eastern Australia, but the second expedition was ultimately turned back by cold, and the third saw the death of the explorer at native hands.