Captain Cook 's Exploration Of Exploration And Discovery

2756 Words12 Pages
Captain James Cook added exponential territories to Britain’s colonial possessions during his three voyages. Cook’s exploration of the Pacific Ocean contributed to Britain’s huge territorial gains, increased wealth, and influenced Europe’s romantic fascination with the science of mapping, charting and classifying the world. Cook was a supremely gifted surveyor and star navigator. His discoveries and the accurate cartographic depiction of them, were of incomparable benefit to his contemporaries. Captain Cook made three exemplary voyages of exploration and discovery. These voyages brought unimaginable new views of scientific, geographic, and cultural knowledge to a modernizing European world on the verge of the Enlightenment. Although Cook himself was not steeped in this intellectual movement, which was gradually moving away from the traditions of received opinions and Christian thoughts, the results of his Pacific voyages made major contributions to the scientific and cultural knowledge that led to the enlightenment of his colleagues and philosophers. Cook’s explorations and ‘discoveries’ were indeed new to the Western world, but to the Pacific islanders they had been known for thousands of years. The knowledge Cook provided to his contemporaries in turn, was used to justify colonisation of the ‘discovered’ lands. This essay will present two arguments. The first argument will demonstrate how the voyages of Captain James Cook added to the colonial possessions of the British
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