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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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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Please help. And feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
According to a family tree chart I found, Captain James Cook had 2 brothers, John and William. According to this chart, William Cook passed away at about the age of 3 years old. So my question for now is, Did John Cook ever marry and/or ever have any children? I've also found information (again, don't know how true) that States Elizabeth had destroyed all family papers, but alleges that William did marry (wife unknown) and had a Son named Ernest
By Amanda Simpson on 1/22/2014 2:07:08 AM Like:2 DisLike:1
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His adventures are really interesting.
By Rebekah on 10/1/2013 12:02:29 PM Like:0 DisLike:3
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Captain Cook's journal contains a lengthy entry for 17th March 1774. After several pages describing Easter Island and its people, Cook lists a number of words used by islanders, as reported by Lt. Pickersgill. This list can bge seen in "The Journals of Captain Cook" Vol.II The Voyage of the Resolution and Adventure, edited by J C Beaglehole.
Several other members of the crew (Sparrman, Edgecumbe, Forster and Pickersgill) also made their own lists of words. These were privately published in "Captain Cook's South Sea Island Vocabularies" by Peter Lanyon-Orgill (1979).
Easter Island vocabulary
By Cliff Thornton on 7/20/2013 9:36:30 PM Like:0 DisLike:1
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When Cook visited Easter Island he had a interpreter from Tahiti who recorded words from the Islanders. Where can I find this list?
By Leif Andréasson on 6/27/2013 9:43:40 AM Like:0 DisLike:2
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On the above website, the Cook/Fleck family tree, it indicates that James died 1/24/1794 at Solent Beach, Isle of Wight; Nathaniel died 10/3/1780 in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Jamaica; and Hugh died 12/21/1793 at Christ's College, Cambridge (of an infection caught at school which I read on another website). I read somewhere that James and Nathaniel drowned.
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By Anonymous on 4/21/2013 12:47:57 AM Like:1 DisLike:2
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In scanning articles on the web about Cook and his family I read that Hugh died from an infection he caught while at school.
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By Anonymous on 4/21/2013 12:30:37 AM Like:0 DisLike:1

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