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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Hello, I was wondering whether he was ever honoured by the monarchy of the time?
Was this a 'done' thing for ship captains?
Is it possible to posthumously give an award? It seems it would be appropriate given his accomplishments.

By Kerran Jones on 2/14/2017 5:49:43 PM Like:0 DisLike:0
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Hi I'm looking for info about James cooks incounter with the mickmack peoples on may 15 1776 in st Georges bay as written about in cooks charts of newfoundland any info you could offer would be greatly apreachated. Thank you in advance Nothern Buffalo
By Byron A Alexzander on 2/11/2017 2:13:26 PM Like:0 DisLike:0
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Capt Cooks life inspires me to keep my dreams of adventure and discovery alive
By Dan Hines on 1/19/2017 3:28:34 PM Like:0 DisLike:0
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Graham, Captain Cook was using the term "bluff" in the nautical sense, meaning a cliff or headland. So his Cape 3 Points were not 3 elevated hills, but headlands into the sea. You can see them if you look at them using Google Earth. They form the northern headland to Broken Bay. Cook notes in his journal that he measured their Longitude as 33 degrees 33 minutes which may have influenced his choice of name. On Google Earth I make the coordinates out to be 33 degrees 31minutes South, 151 degrees 25 minutes East.
By Cliff Thornton on 1/8/2017 3:49:21 PM Like:0 DisLike:0
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Can someone please tell me exactly which body of land Cook was looking at when he named Cape 3 Points on the 7th May 1770, which he described in his journal as "High land with 3 Bluff Points". In other words what are the "3 Points" and their co-ordinates? TIA
By Graham Lawson on 1/7/2017 1:09:32 AM Like:0 DisLike:0
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Loved reading the information.
By Estela Vazquez on 11/14/2015 8:09:13 AM Like:0 DisLike:1
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Emily, three of Cook's children died in infancy
Elizabeth, born 1767 - died 1771
Joseph, born 1768 - died 1768
George, born 1772 - died 1772

Nathaniel Cook, followed in his father's footsteps and joined the Royal Navy. He was drowned at sea in 1780 when his ship HMS Thunderer, was sunk by a hurricane in the West Indies.
Hugh Cook, was a student at Christ College, Cambridge when he caught a fever and died in 1793.
James Cook, the eldest child, was also in the Royal Navy. He was drowned in 1794 whilst trying to reach his ship, HMS Spitfire, in rough seas. He was 31 years of age.
By Cliff Thornton on 11/4/2015 8:32:20 AM Like:0 DisLike:2
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Steven, I do not think that anybody knows what sort of music Captain Cook liked, but what is known is how important music was to Cook's encounters with the islanders of the Pacific. His journals contain entries which describe how he asked the musicians in the marines to play for the local chiefs. Their instruments included the fife, drum and bagpipe. When Joseph Banks was preparing to accompany Cook on the second voyage, he planned to take a couple of horn players with him. Music seemed to be something that was held in common by all cultures.
By Cliff Thornton on 11/4/2015 8:23:28 AM Like:0 DisLike:2
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What did cooks children die from?
By Emily on 11/1/2015 11:09:07 AM Like:1 DisLike:4
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Hi @Captain Cook Society,
Can you tell me what type of music Captain Cook liked e.g. classical composers, poetry, sea songs, instruments (including any they had on the ships) etc?
Thank you.
By Steven on 11/1/2015 1:16:38 AM Like:1 DisLike:1

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