History : Jul-Aug 2017
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC HISTORY 87 Australian coastline. When they explored on land, the native Aborigines shied away from making contact. On June 11 the ship ran aground on a coral reef, which tore open a hole in the keel. The entire crew, including Cook, took turns manning the pumps to keep the ship afloat. To lighten the ship’s weight, they tossed much of their artillery, water barrels, and firewood over- board. A clever officer suggested fothering the ship and fashioned a large sail of oakum and wool. The sail was dragged under the ship to cover the hole. The patch allowed the Endeav- our to reach land where it could be more fully repaired. The Endeavour continued as far as Torres Strait. On August 22, 1770, on a rocky prom- ontory called Possession Island, Cook claimed the entire east coast of the Australian conti- nent in the name of King George III, in spite of the Admiralty’s instructions prohibiting him from claiming inhabited land without the in- habitants’consent. He named the territory New South Wales. Triumphant Return The return to Europe was slow and difficult. Up until then, Cook had managed to keep most of the crew in good shape with a diet rich in veg- etables to prevent scurvy. However, when they stopped at Batavia (now Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia), many of the sailors fell ill and died of malaria and dysentery. After they set sail again, the Endeavour had just half a dozen fit sail- ors left and struggled to reach Cape Town on March 16, 1771. Cook had to recruit several Por- tuguese sailors there to continue. Cook’s jour- nals say the ship finally anchored in England on July 13, 1771, after a voyage of almost three years. Cook’s feat was celebrated in Britain as a great national triumph. Lord Sandwich paid John Hawkesworth, a fashionable writer, £6,000 (more than the Endeavour itself cost) to write an epic account of the voyage based on Cook’s logs. Cook became an exemplary hero who embodied Britain’s imperial destiny. A SHIP BY ANY OTHER NAME The Endeavour (seen above as a replica) was first launched as the Earl of Pembroke in 1764. By the time it was scuttled near Rhode Island in 1778, it had been renamed the Lord Sandwich. SIMON GROSSET/ALAMY/ACI AN EXPERT IN MARITIME HISTORY AND LAW, JOSÉ MARÍA LANCHO HAS WRITTEN NUMEROUS ARTICLES ON EUROPEAN NAVAL EXPANSION.