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Cook's voyages and peoples of the Pacific

CollectionsANU Press (1965- Present)
Title: Cook's voyages and peoples of the Pacific
Date published: 1979
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Australian National University Press
Two hundred years ago Captain James Cook revealed to Europe the world of the Pacific. In three great voyages made in the short span of eleven years he explored the ocean from the Antarctic, through the islands of Polynesia and Melanesia, to the north-west coast of America, Alaska and the Arctic. A small isolated group of voyagers, half the world away from home, found its way to and fro across the vastness of the South Sea (as the Pacific was also known) coming across new lands and peoples as they went. Much has been written about the history of Cook{u2019}s voyages in terms of geography and chronology; the purpose of this book, written to coincide with the bicentenary of Cook{u2019}s death on Hawaii on 14 February 1779, is to describe the impact which Cook made on some of the peoples which he encountered, and the impression which they made on him and his companions. The illustrations nearly all represent drawings, objects, etc., directly connected with the voyages, in an attempt to recapture the experience of the initial encounters. In the first chapter the background and chronology of the voyages is sketched; the succeeding chapters, each written by an expert in the field, deal with four of the most important cultures encountered by Cook: those of the Society Islands, the Maori of New Zealand, the Nootka of Vancouver Island, and of Hawaii. A final chapter by Dr Helen Wallis sums up the cultural achievement and consequences of the enterprise.


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