Philatelic Aspects of Ascension

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The Visit of Captain Cook

Perhaps the best known explorer of all time, James Cook, made three great voyages between 1768 and 1780.

It was during the second of these that he visited St Helena and Ascension Island.

Cook left Plymouth in July 1772 aboard HMS Resolution, accompanied by the support ship Adventure. The voyage had many aims, but the main ones were the search for another continent beyond Australia, and the testing of a new chronometer designed by John Harrison.

During the three years of the voyage they crossed the Antarctic Circle three times, but, in spite of enduring very harsh conditions, all they could find was "Nothing southwards but ice."

They called at Ascension Island on the return journey to collect turtle meat, the island at that time had very little else to attract homeward-bound mariners. They made a longer stay on St Helena though, because the Governor there was the son of a friend of Cook, and wined and dined them lavishly.


Copyright © 2000, Neil MacFall
Created by Stephen C Fowler
Last revised on the 2nd of July 2000