Ceremonial Adze

Captain Cook and the Pacific Islands

The voyages of Captain Cook are celebrated as truly historic feats of navigation and seamanship. The Pacific Ocean covers one third of the globe - finding the tiny islands scattered across this vast ocean has been compared to finding a handful of confetti, sprinkled across a huge lake.

We sometimes say that Captain Cook 'discovered' Pacific Islands such as Hawaii and New Zealand, when actually there were people already living there.

Discussion Ideas:

  • If people were already living in the Pacific Islands before Captain Cook 'discovered' them, where did those people originally come from?
  • How did they manage to sail across the vast Pacific Ocean, centuries before Captain Cook, to find and settle these islands?
  • The Pacific islanders had no metal ore, no clay for pottery, and no animals such as sheep to provide fibres to make clothing and sails for their ocean-going canoes. What did they use instead?
  • What was their way of life before Captain Cook 'put them on the map'?
Another resource on My Learning, Captain Cook's Travels, features several more Yorkshire World Collection objects.

Document icon Learning article provided by: Whitby Museum | 
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