Precursors of Cook: the Voyages of the Dolphin, 1764-8

By Randolph Cock, published February 1999


In the scholarly accounts of 18th century British voyages of discovery and exploration, those of Captain James Cook (1768-71, 1772-5, and 1776-8) figure prominently.  However, this article asserts that the two previous voyages of the Dolphin (1764-6 and 1766-8) have been unfairly slighted and deserve more attention and credit, since they materially contributed to the later successes of Captain Cook.  The author suggests at least three significant contributory areas: a) significant earlier geographical discoveries; b) the testing of technical innovations; and c) the availability of charts, logs, and experienced crew from the Dolphin.  Furthermore the Dolphin’s records indicate that much of the special attention shown to the health and welfare of the crew attributed to Cook rightly belongs to the Captains of the two previous Dolphin voyages.

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Filed under: James Cook | Other (Eighteenth C) | Pacific
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

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