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October 14, 2015


At the age of 16, James Cook signed up with the merchant navy, learning skills in the things that would prove most useful during his naval career. Having achieved the rank of captain, Cook was sent south of the equator aboard HMS Endeavour. The goal of the mission was to observe Venus moving in front of the sun – albeit with an ulterior motive of finding a rumored “southern continent.” Thus began a series of expeditions to the Pacific, where Cook and his crew made the first known circumnavigation of New Zealand and became the first Europeans to visit eastern Australia. After searching for the Northwest Passage, Cook found and explored the Hawaiian Islands, where he was killed by the not so friendly natives in 1779.