A Great British Explorer
1779 Today is the anniversary of the death of one of the great British explorers, and he commanded a vessel called The Endeavor, Captain James Cook.
At the age of 26, Cook joined the Royal Navy later than most, at the age of 26. He drew attention with his Superior map-making skills, which helped the British Launch a successful attack in Quebec.
Later, when Cook took command of his own ship, he was usually accompanied by artists, scientists, astronomers, and botanists like Sir Joseph Banks - who accompanied Cook on the first successful voyage to Australia.
A year later, Cook sailed again, but this time Banks would not be going. Instead, a German, Johann Reinhold Forster and his son Georg—would be the botanists for his next voyage.
Cook's death on this day in 1779 in Hawaii was gruesome. Angered when Hawaiian natives stole one of his cutter ships, Cook ordered the bay sealed off. Cook went ashore at the North end of the bay and asked the King and his sons to come away as hostages. The King's wife broke down, crying and begged him not to go with Cook. The King's people suddenly rose up and defended him and threw stones at Cook.
Meanwhile, on the South end of the bay, a high-ranking chief had tried to break through the barricade. Cook's men shot him. A battle started that swept up the bay just as Cook was attempting to leave the King. Cook signaled for boats to come and get them off the beach.
As Cook was making his way to the shore to escape, a native clubbed him with a piece of fencing and ran off. As Cook attempted to rise, another native stabbed in the back of the neck with a dagger. Cook's head was held under the water as he was killed with clubs and stones. Afterward, the islanders prepared a Royal Funeral for him, removing his hands from his body and preserving them in salt. The rest of his body was roasted in a pit so that his bones could be picked clean.
Last year, the Australian government announced they were budgeting $50 million to redevelop Cook's 1770 landing place. The plans include turning the area into a major tourist attraction and include the addition of a $3 million statue of Cook himself.
Australia Treasurer Scott Morrison said it would be,
"a place of commemoration, recognition, and understanding of two cultures and the incredible Captain Cook."
The redevelopment is slated to be ready this year, 2020, in time to mark the 250th anniversary of the landing.