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Captain James Cook (1728-1779). British explorer James Cook. After joining the Royal Navy, Cook undertook his first major voyage from 1768-71, accurately mapping New Zealand's coastline and making the first European landing in east Australia. During the period 1772-75 he crossed the Antarctic Circle for the first time. Further travel south was halted by sea ice. In his third voyage from 1776-79, more sea ice would prevent him from finding the Northwest passage around Canada. He turned back to the Hawaiian islands that he had just charted, where he was killed in a dispute with a group of islanders.
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