Historical information

The first voyage of Lieutenant James Cook was a combined Royal Navy and Royal Society expedition to the south Pacific Ocean aboard HMS Endeavour, from 1768 to 1771. The aims of this first expedition were to observe the transit of Venus across the Sun (3–4 of June 1769). Departing from Plymouth in August 1768, the expedition crossed the Atlantic, rounded Cape Horn and reached Tahiti in time to observe the transit of Venus. In September 1769 the expedition reached New Zealand. In April 1770 they became the first known Europeans to reach the east coast of Australia, making landfall near present-day Point Hicks, and then proceeding north to Botany Bay. The expedition continued northward along the Australian coastline. In October 1770 they reached the port of Batavia in the Dutch East Indies. They resumed their journey on 26 December, rounded the Cape of Good Hope on 13 March 1771, and reached the English port of Deal on 12 July. The voyage lasted almost three years. Voyage 1 (1768–1771): ship Endeavour Route: London – Madiera – Rio de Janeiro – Cape Horn – Tuamotu Island – Tahiti – Society Islands – New Zealand – New Holland (Australia) – East Timor – Java – Batavia – Cape of Good Hope – St Helena – Ascension – London


Cook joined the British merchant navy as a teenager and joined the Royal Navy in 1755.

Physical description

Colour reproduction of portrait of Captain Cook by Nathaniel Dance (1735-1811)

Inscriptions & markings

Captain James Cook - The First Voyage 1768-1771