The Endeavour voyage across the Pacific, 1768-1771

By Tony Rice

James Cook's first journey across the Pacific, in 1768-71, provides the most superb visual record of one of the early voyages that characterised this period of eighteenth-century discovery. During his important mission in search of a southern continent--a find that would consolidate Britain's trading power--Cook and his crew, including Joseph Banks and the artist Sydney Parkinson, accumulated a mass of natural history and ethnographic material that would astonish the scientific establishment around the world. However, death and disease would have a catastrophic bearing on the fortunes of all those involved.

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Cartoon image of a snake disappearing through closing door

Last year nearly 100,000 specimens were loaned to scientific institutions and researchers worldwide.