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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The charts of Kealekekua Bay, made by Cook and his men, show where the two ships anchored.
But the Resolution moved into deeper water when Cook's remains were buried at sea, and the location of the ship during that ceremony was not recorded.
By Cliff Thornton on 6/18/2017 10:06:57 PM Like:0 DisLike:0
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we vacation on Kealakekua Bay and spend all day in the we know where in the bay remains were sunk?
By jarv on 6/1/2017 11:50:37 PM Like:0 DisLike:0
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Stellar, Captain Cook was killed by the Hawaiians at Kealakekua Bay, on the island of Hawaii.
The Hawaiians were not cannibals, but they often cooked bodies to enable the bones to be easily removed. They believed that the power of an individual remained in their bones, so the bones were kept but the flesh was disposed of - and not eaten.
By Cliff Thornton on 4/9/2017 5:26:12 PM Like:0 DisLike:0
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Did captain cook get eaten by the Hawkins or did he just die?
By Stellar smith on 4/9/2017 12:18:14 AM Like:0 DisLike:0
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Chris, why Cook never received any award in recognition for his achievements has puzzled many people. The explanation is that a knighthood, or similar honours which were the gift of the King, could not be awarded retrospectively, or posthumously. And that is still the case today.
By Cliff Thornton on 3/18/2017 7:28:34 PM Like:1 DisLike:0
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I have often wandered, as an Australian, why James Cook was never knighted for his discovering of the great Southern land. Was it due to his junior ranking as an officer in the Rn? Does anybody know?
By Chris Coghlan on 3/17/2017 3:50:07 AM Like:0 DisLike:0
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Byron, Cook's encounter with the Mi'kmaq people received only the briefest of mentions in the ship's log. The entry for 20th May 1767, when they were at the head of St. George's Bay, in a place they called St. George's Harbour, states "Found here a tribe of the Mickmak Indians".
By Cliff Thornton on 3/4/2017 8:07:13 AM Like:0 DisLike:0
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Kerman, I agree that would have been nice to see Cook receive some award as acknowledgement for his achievements. It is possible that following his third voyage he would have been made an Admiral. But those titles which the King could award in the 18th century could not be given posthumously. His family was awarded a coat of arms, and the King granted them a substrata trial pension, but that was all he could do.
By Cliff Thornton on 3/4/2017 7:55:20 AM Like:0 DisLike:0
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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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