Cook reaches Hawaii
The 18th of January 1778 AD
Cook's third great voyage of discovery was to be his last. On July 11 1776 his command HMS Resolution set sail, joined in the expedition by HMS Discovery under Captain Charles Clerke shortly afterwards. As far as the British public was concerned the principal reason for the voyage was to return the Tahitian youth Omai who had come to England with him on his previous voyage; but the reality was far more significant - he intended finding the fabled North West Passage, a route to Asia that would have brought incredible economic gain to his country, as well as continuing his exploration of the Pacific.
In the earlier stages of the voyage Cook revisited New Zealand and Tahiti, before venturing north to Alaska. When the search for the North West Passage failed to bear fruit there, he sailed south, and his party became the first Europeans to sight what we now call Hawaii, though Cook diplomatically and ambitiously named them The Sandwich Islands after the then First Lord of the Admiralty.
Resolution landed at Waimea Harbour on the island of Kauai on January 18 1778, allowing the crew to replenish water supplies and obtain fresh food.
This initial visit was a pleasant one for Captain Cook. But when he returned to the islands a year later it was to prove the end of his wanderings about the Pacific, the great explorer cut down on 14th February 1779 in a petty dispute about a boat stolen from his ship.
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