James Cook (1728-1779): the greatest explorer who ever has been! A portrait
by Nathaniel Dance painted in 1776, the year in which Cook set off on his last
journey (also used as cover on the book of ....).
In my opinion, to be a great explorer doesn't have to mean that you have take
big ventures as climbing high mountains without oxygen, flying in a air balloon
and take other risky acrobatic stunts.
Of course I am "extremely" impressed by people who have achieved such
fantastic performances. But our life and universe have to be seen in a wider
view than this. In my terms, explorations means penetration of new geographical
areas, getting in contact with indigenous people for the first time, experience
unknown languages and ancient cultures, and do scientific researches on animals,
plant life and the space.
Captain James Cook stands for it all. He is definitely the greatest navigator
and explorer who ever has been. The time Captain Cook lived must be the most
exiting age of this millennium. The 1700-century was the transition period
before the industrial revolution came.
Captain Cook was in charge of the most interesting and challenging scientific
expeditions which lead in to a undiscovered world, a world that no one ever have
imagined had existed. His crew where selected from several countries with the
highest profession and equipment, and they achieved results that really shacked
On his first expedition Captain Cook observed the
transit of Venus at Tahiti in 1769. His discovery of eastern Australia in 1770,
opened this continent to the immediate contact and influence of science. In
addition he found the rumoured "Northwest passage" and he discovered the Islands
of Hawaii. He worked out accurate and complete maps over the pacific and over
many other areas around the world. Captain Cook sailed around the world many
times. He discovered continuous new lands and people almost wherever he
travelled as no other had seen before.
His vision was clear, and as he said:
I had ambition not only
to go further than any one had been before, but as far it was possible for man
Captain James Cook, was a real gentleman and the greatest citizen of the
world, always with the best intention to build trust and friendship with all the
people he met. Ironically he died in an unfortunate misunderstanding with the
natives in Hawaii, when he was killed trying to prevent his men from firing at
an angry crowd of Hawaiians. With such great personality I cannot imagine a
greater explorer who ever has been in the world than James Cook.
Stein Morten Lund, 15 July