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The expeditions of James Cook shaped Europe’s knowledge of the world, and had far-reaching consequences for the people of the lands they touched. Explore the stories, art and maps of the artists and scientists who were on board the ships. Our digital collection items include drawings by the Polynesian high priest and navigator Tupaia, who accompanied Cook to New Zealand and Australia.
You’ll also find modern-day responses to the expeditions from people of the communities Cook encountered, documented and learned from. These reflect the different perspectives that exist on the legacy of the voyages and their impact.
William Frame, the British Library’s Head of Modern Archives and Manuscripts, gives an account of Cook’s first voyage of 1768-71. Cook was instructed to observe the transit of Venus. But his expedition also had a secret aim to find lands in the south Pacific.Read more
Dr Shayne T. Williams, Ph.D, looks at how James Cook’s landing in New South Wales, Australia might have been experienced and interpreted by the Gweagal people.Read more