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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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:1
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What did cooks children die from?
By Emily on 11/1/2015 11:09:07 AM Like:0 DisLike:1
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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:0 DisLike:1
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Percy, I cannot recall any officer falling out with Captain Cook. Occasionally there was some falling out between the officers, usually involving Lt. John Williamson. He was subsequently promoted, but was later court martialled because of his behaviour.
By Cliff Thornton on 10/31/2015 11:27:57 AM Like:0 DisLike:3
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Was there an officer crew member who was not on good terms with Capt Coo?/If so what was his name and rank and was he later promoted in the Royal Navy. Percy
By Percy Cooper on 10/16/2015 2:45:17 AM Like:0 DisLike:1
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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:1 DisLike:1
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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:1
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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:1

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