The Life and Contribution to the Development of the British Empire of James Cook

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The Life and Contribution to the Development of the British Empire of James Cook

I) Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to describe the life and the contribution to the development of the British Empire of one of the most important English explorers. It was in the second half of the 18th century when James Cook, originally a poor farm boy, explored and mapped vast uncharted areas of the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean. However, James Cook was not ‘only’ an explorer. He can also be called a scientist – he managed to introduce new principles into seafaring and cartography.

For better understanding, the paper is divided into five chapters. The first chapter is the introduction, which throws light on the purpose and
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Such a structure of commerce enabled the immense growth of wealth of the country.
• An imperial enthusiasm – the British found out that they could grow rich from the trade with their colonies. As a result it led to a constant, unending search for new markets for British products, new trading centres and eventually, new lands to settle their surplus criminals and poor, unemployed citizens.
• New inventions in navigation – these inventions had a profound influence, not only upon Britain, but even upon much of the rest of the world. John Hadley’s invention of the reflecting quadrant made it possible to determine the latitude at noon or by night. Extremely accurate, it was quickly adopted by the admiralty (1730). John Harrison’s ship chronometer was to revolutionise the world's shipping (1736). A new method of combating scurvy was found – James Lind recommended to use citrus juice (1747) and finally, John Campbell introduced the new sextant to the Royal Navy (1757). All of these inventions helped to create Britain’s naval supremacy.
• A new philosophical approach - the 18th century in Western Europe is the beginning of the Age of Reason, the philosophers and scientists stressed the value of global discovery, of learning more about the earth and of collecting unusual flora and fauna from around the globe.

Thus Great Britain established (or

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