The Pacific Voyages In 1768, James Cook was made a lieutenant and given command of the Bark Endeavour. for an expedition jointly funded by the British Royal Navy and the Royal Society. On 25 August 1768, Cook set sail from Plymouth bound for Tahiti where his public instructions were to observe the Transit of Venus. Then as secretly instructed, he sailed south in search of the fabled ‘Great Southern Continent’. In the event that he found the Continent, he should chart its coasts, obtain information about its people, cultivate their friendship and alliance, and annex any convenient trading posts in the King’s name. The first voyage took 3 years.
The following links recount the full story of his voyage, including the scientific, navigational and artistic advances made by him and his extremely capable team.