Frequently Asked Questions


Was James Cook really a Captain?
When Cook set sail in 1768 on his first voyage of discovery aboard Endeavour he held the rank of lieutenant. Soon after his return to England in 1771 he was promoted to the rank of commander. He never actually held the rank of captain, but in 1775 was promoted to the higher rank of post-captain.
Any person in charge of a ship is known as its captain, and so it was quite natural to refer to him as Captain Cook.

Are there any living descendants of Captain Cook?
James and Elizabeth Cook had 6 children. 3 of them died in infancy. Two of the others (James and Nathaniel) died at sea whilst serving in the Royal Navy. The youngest of the family, Hugh Cook, died whilst at college at Cambridge. None of their children had married and had children of their own, so there are no descendants from the Cook family.

Are there any living relatives of Captain Cook?
Yes - James Cook's sister Margaret married James Fleck, and their children married and had children of their own. Today there are many descendants of the Fleck family spread around the World. All can claim Captain Cook to be their great, great, etc... uncle.

Was Captain Cook born at Whitby or Staithes?
He was not born at either town. He was born on 27 October 1728 at the small village of Marton in North Yorkshire. Today Marton has become a suburb of the large town of Middlesbrough on Teesside.

What were the names of Captain Cook's ships?
Captain Cook sailed on three voyages of discovery and used the following ships -
1768 - 1771 Endeavour
1772 - 1775 Resolution (with a companion vessel Adventure)
1776 - 1780 Resolution (with a companion vessel Discovery)

Was Captain Cook really eaten by cannibals?
No - the Hawaiian Islanders who killed Captain Cook were not cannibals.
They believed that the power of a man was in his bones, so they cooked part of Cook's body to enable the bones to be easily removed. It was the cooking of his body which gave rise to the rumour of cannibalism.

Where is Captain Cook buried?
Captain Cook was killed at Hawaii on 14 February 1779. A week later his remains were formally buried at sea in Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii.

Updated: October 2008


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Frank, there is no record of the exact height of Captain Cook. But there are various references stating that he was above the average height for that period. So I suggest that he may have been 6ft - 6ft 2ins.
By Cliff Thornton on 8/2/2015 10:25:30 AM Like:0 DisLike:0
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In terested in Captain Cook"s height
By Frank Gore on 7/25/2015 11:35:59 AM Like:0 DisLike:0
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Jodie, on Hawai'i it was traditional for the body of an enemy to be divided up between the chiefs.
Different parts of the body were allocated to different chiefs according to their ascending importance. So it is quite possible that the head of Captain Cook was removed for allocation to a particular chief. It is because his body was divided between the chiefs that it took so long to recover the parts and return them to the ship for a burial at sea. The Hawai'ians believed that the power of an individual resided in their bones, so they were eager to obtain the bones from the body of an enemy. This was best done by cooking, until the meat fell off the bones. So it looks as if your partner may have been correct - although I cannot comment upon the eyes!
By Cliff Thornton on 7/15/2015 11:03:19 PM Like:0 DisLike:0
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May I please ask of you could settle a question my partner has and believes to be true?
He was told that Capatin Cook when killed by the Hawaiians, was beheaded and it was then cooked by "Hungai"? (Sorry of that's spelt wrong!) until his eyes popped?
Please may I ask that you put our discussion and difference of opinions to rest!
Thank you!
By Jodie on 6/23/2015 3:12:36 PM Like:0 DisLike:0
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Hi Fred, thank you for your complimentary remarks, I am glad that you like the website. There is no bibliography page on the website as the intention is to provide a summary of the general information that is generally known about Cook. The Society's publication, "Cook's Log" contains more detailed articles that are usually supported by references. You can download a copy of "Cook's Log" from this website at
By Cliff Thornton on 5/26/2015 9:35:38 AM Like:0 DisLike:0
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Do you have a bibliography page or a list of your sources anywhere? I love the content of the site but there is no indication that I can find on the site that says where your info came from (primary sources or wikipedia?) or the credentials of content contributors. Maybe I'm missing it?
Fred Antoniw
By Fred Antoniw on 5/22/2015 4:52:46 PM Like:0 DisLike:0
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I had to research Captain Cook for a school project and all my information came from this site! Its so informative and definitely has the best facts ever!!! Please keep on updating it as its definitely worth 5 stars. It helped me make my project fantastic!
By Willow on 2/16/2015 4:53:12 AM Like:1 DisLike:0
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Dennis, Captain Cook is known to have taken a small library of books with him on the Endeavour voyage. The historian D.J.Carr wrote an article about the books which he believed were carried on Endeavour and gave Cook the best knowledge then available about the Pacific Ocean. His article was called "The Books that sailed with the Endeavour". It was published in 1983, in a journal called Endeavour, Volume 7, No.4, pp.194-201.
By Cliff Thornton on 12/31/2014 4:41:36 PM Like:0 DisLike:0
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Amanda, the most authoritative family tree for the Cook / Fleck family is available on-line at
This tree shows no marriage for John Cook who was buried at Great Ayton in 1750.
William was also buried at Great Ayton in 1748 as a 4 year old.
By Cliff Thornton on 12/31/2014 4:32:18 PM Like:1 DisLike:0
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What is the best source to learn what Captain Cook knew of the world, the seas into which he was sailing, etc. before he departed on the first voyage? Thank you, DG
By Dennis Gallagher on 7/29/2014 5:27:10 PM Like:0 DisLike:1

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