This week in history the explorer Captain James Cook is killed by a native spear in Hawaii on February 14, 1779. Cook was a peaceful man, not given to brutalizing the native peoples he encountered on his epic voyages—but some of his men had started trouble with a local chief. The villagers retaliated by stealing the ship’s cutter. Cook took 12 armed marines ashore to take a hostage to swap for the cutter. But the villagers had never seen guns and were not afraid of Cook’s men. They attacked, felling the Captain.

On this day: the history of the world in 366 days. New York, NY : Crescent Books. (1992.).

To learn more about James Cook’s three voyages to the Pacific, his discoveries, and mapping of the Pacific rim click this link:

James Cook


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