Saturday, April 9, 2011

Greatest historical myths-Captain Cook discovered Australia

Captain Cook discovered Australia

Many Australians will agree that this isn’t so - but for the wrong reasons. They will point out that, many years before Cook arrived in Sydney in 1770, Australia had already been visited by Dutchmen Abel Tasman and Dirk Hartog, and an English buccaneer, William Dampier. Of course, it had been previously been discovered some 50,000 years earlier by the indigenous Australians.

But in fairness to Cook, he did discover a new part of the country - and more importantly, this led to the first white settlers (an opportunity that Tasman, Hartog and Dampier didn’t take). So let’s say that Cook DID discover Australia! Fine, but Cook was actually a Lieutenant when he sailed to the Great South Land. The “captain” rank might be a minor point, but it’s certainly inaccurate - and as he is called “Captain Cook” so often that it might as well be his name, it’s one worth correcting.


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