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History Unplugged Podcast

with Scott Rank

Travelers and Explorers, Part 6: James Cook (1728-1797), England's Poseidon

00:00 51:47
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James Cook came from a humble village upbringing. But by the end of his career, he circumnavigated the globe several times, discovered Australia and explored its west coast, mapped much of the South Pacific, and was worshipped as a deity by some Hawaiian natives. He also made incredible contributions to science. Two botanists on his second voyage collected over 3,000
plant species and presented their findings to the Royal Society. His crew included several
artists, who documented the botanists' findings and completed 264 drawings. Cook even
determined the cause of scurvy and implemented a diet for his crew full of fresh produce. He
did not lose a single man to scurvy on his first voyage – an unprecedented accomplishment in
the naval exploration of the eighteenth century.

During the captain's 12 years of sailing around the Pacific, he gathered enough longitudinal measurements and depth soundings for mapmakers to produce accurate charts of the South Pacific for the first time. Many were still in use through the mid-twentieth century. Global sea travel would now be safe to nearly any location on the globe. Thanks to Cook, the world had become interconnected.
July 01, 2021
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Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to scottrankphd.com.
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