The mystery of Cook’s lost journal

After Captain Cook's death in Hawaii, several pages were found to be missing from his final log-book. Glyn Williams, author of a new study on the explorer, asks if they were lost or hidden as part of a cover-up

An illustration depicting inhabitants of Hawaii making an offering to Captain Cook

This article was first published in the August 2008 edition of BBC History Magazine

Captain Cook’s claim to fame is that he redrew the map of the world. In three voyages he transformed Europe’s sketchy knowledge of the Pacific. Sailing thousands of miles across the largely uncharted ocean that covered almost one third of the earth’s surface, he mapped lands from New Zealand in the south to the shores of the Bering Strait in the far north. As one of his officers claimed after the third voyage, “The Grand bounds of the four Quarters of the Globe are known”.

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