As I mentioned in my last post, Valentine’s Day wasn’t always hearts and flowers, sometimes it was a day of blood and guts. On this day in 1779 the Hawaiians killed one of the world’s most important explorers, Captain James Cook.
Cook started out as a surveyor in the Royal Navy in 1768 and after being commissioned a lieutenant led an expedition that took scientists to Tahiti to document the transit of Venus (during the voyage they also explored the coast of New Zealand and Australia). Beginning in 1772, Cook commanded a major mission to the South Pacific and over the next three years explored the Antarctic region, charted the New Hebrides, and discovered New Caledonia. In January 1778, he made his first visit to the Hawaiian Islands possibly the first European to ever visit the islands.