Stunning news out of the Unites States this morning with the apparent discovery of Captain James Cook’s ship Endeavour off the coast of Rhode Island.
The British explorer sailed the Endeavour on his first voyage to Australia and New Zealand.
It was last seen in 1778, renamed the Lord Sandwich, being used as a transport ship during the Revolutionary War.
The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP), who have allegedly discovered the ship, say they are 80 to 100 percent certain it’s the Endeavour.
“The RIMAP has mapped nine archaeological sites of the 13 ships that were scuttled in Newport Harbour in 1778 during the American Revolution,” said the team.
““One group of five ships included the Lord Sandwich transport, formerly Captain James Cook’s Endeavour. RIMAP now knows the general area of Newport Harbour where those five ships were scuttled.”
In the next stage of the investigation, the team will conduct an extensive study of each vessel and its artefacts to determine which is which.
James Cook, one of the greatest navigators, explorers and cartographers of the Age of Enlightenment, had humble beginnings as a farm boy. Born on 27 October 1728 to a local Yorkshire lass and a Scottish immigrant labourer, Cook was a bright, hardworking student. He left school at 16, became an apprentice sailor at 18 and joined the navy nine years later.
In 1768 Cook was chosen to lead an expedition on Endeavour Bark to the South Seas to observe the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun. Naturalist Joseph Banks was on board.
In Tahiti, with observations complete, Cook opened secret orders to continue south in search of the fabled ‘Unknown Southern Land’. After charting parts of New Zealand, he reached New Holland (Australia), where he landed, made contact with Aboriginals, mapped parts of the east coast and claimed it for England. Briefly shipwrecked on the Great Barrier Reef, he sailed north and west to complete the first of his two global circumnavigations.
A year later he again set off in search of the Unknown Southern Land. He spent much of 1772–75 sailing the high southern latitudes fighting pack ice and storms. He came within 150 miles of Antarctica and, though he never saw it, continued to believe in its existence.
Cook visited Adventure Bay on Tasmania’s Bruny Island during his third voyage, sailing first to the South Seas, then north to the Pacific coasts of North America and Siberia. While returning to England via Cape Horn, he stopped in the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), where he was killed on 14 February 1779 during a confrontation between his crew and the locals. In an honour ritual believed to express how highly regarded he was by the Hawaiians, his heart was eaten by the four most powerful chiefs.