Captain Cook and the Pacific
S. Smith, after John Webber.
Sea Otter" in James Cook. A Voyage
to the Pacific Ocean . . . Performed under the Direction of Captains Cook,
Clerke, and Gore . . .1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, and 1780.
London: W. Strahan, 1780
Rare Book & Special Collections
Sailing under the British flag with the intention of locating
the western gateway to the fabled Northwest Passage, Captain James
Cook (1728-1779) devoted his third and final voyage to exploring
the Pacific Basin and the northwest coast of North America from
Oregon to Alaska. His account of the voyage included illustrations
like this view of a sea otter on the west coast of Vancouver Island
in present-day British Columbia. Cook was instructed to observe
the flora, fauna, and geology he encountered and ". . . to
describe them as minutely, and to make as accurate drawings of
them, as you can . . ."