Cook revolutionized Europe's knowledge of the South Pacific in his great circumnavigations 1768-71 and 1772-75. In July 1776 he began a third voyage, to search for a NORTHWEST PASSAGE. He sailed east across the Pacific and anchored in NOOTKA SOUND, on Vancouver Island (29 March 1778). His men repaired his ships and carried on a lucrative trade with the Nootka for otter pelts. He departed 26 April 1778 and sailed into Bering Strait in search of the passage, retreating in the face of a wall of ice. He was killed in the Sandwich Islands in an altercation with the local people.
Cook was not the first to explore the NORTHWEST COAST, but he and his men were the first to reveal its attractions, particularly the FUR TRADE. Among those who followed was George VANCOUVER, who had sailed with Cook on his second and third voyages.
Author JAMES MARSH
Links to Other Sites
Major Northwest Passage Exeditions and Explorers
This site offers brief accounts of various European expeditions to North America in search of the Northwest Passage. From the website "Of Maps and Men: In Pursuit of a Northwest Passage," Princeton University.
Juan de Fuca
A biography of Greek navigator Juan de Fuca (Ioannis Phokas), who was said to have participated in 16th century Spanish expeditions along the west coast of North America. From the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association.
The Strait of Anian and British Northwest America: Cook's Third Voyage in Perspective
An article about James Cook's voyages of exploration along the West Coast of North America. From "BC Studies," a University of British Columbia website.