Quiz about Captain James Cook  A Timeline
Quiz about Captain James Cook  A Timeline

Captain James Cook - A Timeline Quiz

Captain James Cook led a number of Expeditions and mapped a lot of coastline in his career with the Royal Navy, amongst other things. Can you match these 15 events with the correct dates in the timeline?

A matching quiz by reedy. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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4 mins
Match Quiz
Quiz #
Dec 03 21
# Qns
Avg Score
11 / 15
Top 35% Quiz
Mobile instructions: Press on an answer on the right. Then, press on the gray box it matches on the left.
(a) Drag-and-drop from the right to the left, or (b) click on a right side answer box and then on a left side box to move it.
1. November 7th, 1728  
Participated in Seven Years' War
2. 1755 to 1762  
Departed for 'Third Voyage'
3. December 21st, 1762  
Landed at Botany Bay (Australia)
4. 1763 to 1767  
Married Elizabeth Batts
5. August 26th, 1768  
Charted NW coast of North America
6. June 3rd, 1769  
Circumnavigated New Zealand
7. October 1769 to March 1770  
Killed in Hawai'i at the age of 50
8. April 29th, 1770  
Surveyed coast of Newfoundland
9. July 13th, 1772  
First visit to Hawai'ian Islands
10. January 17th, 1773  
Born in Marton, Yorkshire
11. February 8th, 1773   
Ships separated in Antarctic fog
12. July 12th & August 1st, 1776  
Departed for 'First Voyage'
13. January 18th, 1778   
Observed transit of Venus (Tahiti)
14. Summer, 1778   
Crossed Antarctic Circle (first time)
15. February 14th, 1779  
Departed for 'Second Voyage'

Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. November 7th, 1728

Answer: Born in Marton, Yorkshire

James was the second of eight children born to James Cook, Sr. and Grace Pace. He attended school for five years from the age of eight until thirteen, after which he began to work for his father, who was a farm manager. At the age of sixteen he moved to a coastal town where he worked as a shop boy for a short time before taking on an apprenticeship in the merchant navy of John and Henry Walker.

Between his five years of schooling and his apprenticeship, Cook learned algebra, geometry, trigonometry, navigation and astronomy - all skills that would help him to become a great navigator and cartographer.
2. 1755 to 1762

Answer: Participated in Seven Years' War

While clashes between England and France began in 1753, war was not officially declared (by England on France) until 1756, and their conflict began in earnest throughout their colonies and on the open seas.

Despite an advancing career in the merchant navy (he had just been offered his own command), Cook joined the Royal Navy on June 17th, 1755 and was posted to HMS Eagle. He saw his first action against the French later that year as HMS Eagle captured one warship and sank another.

In 1757, as part of the crew of HMS Pembroke, James sailed to North America where they participated in the Siege of Louisbourg (1758) and the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, which resulted in the capture of Québec City.
3. December 21st, 1762

Answer: Married Elizabeth Batts

Elizabeth Batts was the daughter of Mary and Samuel Batts. Samuel was the keeper of the Bell Inn in Wapping (on the north bank of the River Thames about a kilometre east of the Tower of London). There is no record of when James and Elizabeth met, nor how long they courted, but they married in 1762, the winter before he began his summer expeditions to map the coast of Newfoundland.

They were married at St Margaret's Church in Barking, Essex.

Unfortunately, James and Elizabeth met with tragedy with their six children. Two of the five boys died in infancy, while their only daughter died at the age of four. His second-born was lost at sea at the age of 16, just eight months after James himself was killed. His youngest died at the age of 17 of scarlet fever, and his firstborn just weeks later, drowning while serving with the Royal Navy (at the age of 30). Elizabeth lived to the age of 93, and never remarried.
4. 1763 to 1767

Answer: Surveyed coast of Newfoundland

Cook spent five summer seasons surveying and mapping the coast of Newfoundland, returning to England and his wife Elizabeth in-between.

Aboard HMS Grenville, 1763 and 1764 he mapped the northwestern coast, in 1765 and 1766 he mapped the south coast between the Burin Peninsula and Cape Ray, and in 1767 he managed to map the west coast. His surveying was so accurate that his maps were used into the 20th century.

As a point of interest, Cook also observed and timed an eclipse of the sun on August 5th, 1766.
5. August 26th, 1768

Answer: Departed for 'First Voyage'

In February of 1768 the Royal Society petitioned the king (George III) to fund a scientific expedition to the Pacific to study and observe the 1769 transit of Venus across the sun. The intent was to achieve an accurate measurement of the distance of Venus to the Sun, which would in turn allow for more accurate estimates on other planetary distances in the solar system.

Cook was commissioned in May to lead the voyage and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant to have the commensurate rank to command a ship of the line. The scientific premise ended up not being the only purpose of the expedition. Cook was sent with sealed orders to open after completing the observations.

Cook's ship, HM Bark Endeavour was originally launched in 1764 as the collier 'Earl of Pembroke', then purchased by the Royal Navy in 1768 to be refitted and renamed for Cook's expedition.
6. June 3rd, 1769

Answer: Observed transit of Venus (Tahiti)

Cook and the HMB Endeavour sailed around Cape Horn (South America) and made their way to Tahiti, arriving April 13th, 1769. With the transit of Venus not expected until June, Cook and his crew built of a small fort and observatory at the northernmost point of the island, now known as Point Venus.

Measurements were recorded by Cook, by the official astronomer Charles Green, and by naturalist Daniel Solander. Unfortunately, their numbers varied more than they expected. In Cook's journal, he recorded:

"Saturday 3rd This day prov'd as favourable to our purpose as we could wish, not a Clowd was to be seen the Whole day and the Air was perfectly clear, so that we had every advantage we could desire in Observing the whole of the passage of the Planet Venus over the Suns disk: we very distinctly saw an Atmosphere or dusky shade round the body of the Planet which very much disturbed the times of the contacts particularly the two internal ones. D r Solander observed as well as Mr Green and my self, and we differ'd from one another in observeing the times of the Contacts much more than could be expected."
7. October 1769 to March 1770

Answer: Circumnavigated New Zealand

Following their task in Tahiti, Cook opened his next set of orders to learn that he was commanded to search the south Pacific for signs of the supposed southern continent of Terra Australis.

They reached New Zealand on October 6th and made landfall, but this resulted in clashes with the native Māori. In the process of circumnavigating the North Island, Cook also took time (on January 22nd) to climb Kaitapeha peak on Arapawa Island, seeing the strait separating the North and South Islands (now named Cook Strait). The HMB Endeavour completed the circumnavigation of the North Island on February 9th, then continued on to do the same with the South Island over the next two months, finishing the task on March 26th.
8. April 29th, 1770

Answer: Landed at Botany Bay (Australia)

From New Zealand, Cook and his crew sailed towards New Holland (as Australia was known as at that time, after Abel Tasman's sighting of the north coast of the continent in 1644), with a view of first sailing for Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) to determine if that was part of a larger southern landmass.

Inclement weather forced them to a more northerly course, and instead of Van Diemen's Land, they sighted the southeastern coast (at a point lying about half-way between the present-day towns of Orbost and Mallacoota) of New Holland on April 19th (according to the ship's log). But since the southeast coast of Australia is now regarded as being 10 hours ahead relative to Britain, that date is now called April 20th.

Cook followed the coastline to the north for more than a week until finding an extensive but shallow inlet good for mooring. He named it 'Sting-Ray Harbour' at first, but it was renamed 'Botanist Bay' and eventually became known as 'Botany Bay' (due to the interesting specimens discovered their by the ship's botanists, Joseph Banks, Daniel Solander and Herman Spöring).

From there they continued north, but ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef on June 11th, causing a delay of seven weeks on their voyage as they effected repairs. They continued on to Batavia for resupply and rest before making their way back to England, rounding the Cape of Good Hope (Africa) and stopping at St. Helena before arriving in England on July 10th, 1771. Their arrival was unexpected, as the news had long since reported them either lost at sea or destroyed by the French.
9. July 13th, 1772

Answer: Departed for 'Second Voyage'

Promoted to Commander following the first voyage, Cook achieved some fame from his exploits, including the publishing of his journals. So it was no surprise when he was chosen to lead another expedition, this time with the express aim of searching for Terra Australis, that elusive southern continent that scientists of the day believed had to exist, despite the lack of evidence from Cook's first voyage.

For this voyage, Cook commanded HMS Resolution. As with HM Bark Endeavour, Cook's new ship was originally a civilian collier by the name of 'Marquis of Granby', launched in 1770. The Royal Navy purchased it in 1771 and redubbed it 'HMS Drake', which concerned some that it would upset the Spanish, resulting in another name change to 'HMS Resolution'.

A second ship was added to the expedition: HMS Adventure, captained by Tobias Furneaux. A merchant vessel launched in 1770 with the name 'Marquis of Rockingham', the Royal Navy purchased it and again had to make a couple of name changes, originally calling it 'HMS' Raleigh before settling on 'HMS Adventure'.
10. January 17th, 1773

Answer: Crossed Antarctic Circle (first time)

After departing England, Cook's ships sailed south to the Madeira Islands, arriving August 1st, 1772, before continuing on to the Cape Verde Islands for reprovisioning. From there, he sailed due south to the Cape of Good Hope, where he anchored for nearly a month before carrying on.

They departed from the Cape on November 22nd, going further south and encountering extremely cold weather, thick fog, and 'ice islands' in early December. They were caught in pack ice for a time until the weather improved enough for them to continue southward, and on the 17th of January, they crossed the Arctic Circle. Continued difficulty with ice forced them back northeasterly, however, after managing to reach 67°15' South. No land was sighted.
11. February 8th, 1773

Answer: Ships separated in Antarctic fog

Despite their best efforts, the two ships became separated in Antarctic fog on February 8th, and Furneaux followed his instructions and made his way to their prearranged rendezvous for such an event. On the way to Queen Charlotte Sound (New Zealand), he took the time to chart the southern and eastern coasts of Van Diemen's Land. HMS Adventure arrived at New Zealand on May 7th, where he waited until Cook arrived.

Cook, in the meantime, decided to continue his exploration and re-crossed the Arctic Circle, this time reaching 61°21' South on February 24th, but again with no sighting of Antarctica. He carried on towards the rendezvous, arriving on May 17th.

After exploring more of the South Pacific, the two ships were separated again (by a storm this time) in October. This time, they missed each other at the rendezvous, with Cook and HMS Resolution departing to continue their exploration just four days before Furneaux and HMS Adventure arrived. Furneaux elected to return to England, arriving on July 14th, 1774.

Cook crossed the Arctic Circle one more time, penetrating further south than before and reaching the latitude of 71°10' South on January 30th (1774). He made many more stops in the Pacific, spent Christmas at the western end of Tierra del Fuego, and eventually returned to England, but not before spending more time exploring the South Atlantic, and discovering South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

On July 30th, 1775, he finally moored at Portsmouth, ending his second voyage.
12. July 12th & August 1st, 1776

Answer: Departed for 'Third Voyage'

Following his second voyage, Cook was promoted to the rank of Post-Captain and given an honorary retirement, which he rather reluctantly accepted, with the caveat that he be given choice to return to active duty, should an opportunity arise. And an opportunity did, indeed arise.

Just short of a year later, Cook departed on another voyage, this time to find the Northwest Passage. His companion ship this time was HMS Discovery, which was commanded by Charles Clerke. Originally a collier launched in 1774 with the name 'Diligence', the Royal Navy acquired it in 1775 and rechristened it while also changing its configuration from a brig to a full rigged ship.

Cook and HMS Resolution departed on July 12th, but Clerke was delayed in London and HMS Discovery did not depart until August 1st. They rendezvoused in Cape Town and departed from there together on December 1st.

Incidentally, William Bligh was the master on HMS Resolution and George Vancouver was a midshipman on HMS Discovery.
13. January 18th, 1778

Answer: First visit to Hawai'ian Islands

Before 'discovering' the Hawai'ian islands, Cook and Clerke made a number of stops, finding and naming the Prince Edward Islands before stopping at the Kerguelen Islands and continuing on to Van Diemen's Land and then Cook's favourite New Zealand stop at Queen Charlotte Sound on February 12th, 1777. Aiming from there for Tahiti, they were blown off course to the Friendly Islands (now Tonga), where they stayed from April until July before finally making it to Tahiti on August 12th.

After another long break, HMS Resolution and HMS Discovery departed again on December 7th, heading due north until they stumbled across the Hawai'ian Islands, making landfall at Waimea harbour, Kaua'i. Cook named the islands the "Sandwich Islands".
14. Summer, 1778

Answer: Charted NW coast of North America

Departing from Hawai'i on February 2nd, 1778, Cook sailed for the west coast of North America, making landfall in (what today is) Oregon on March 6th. From there they went north to Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island, where they spent a month before continuing on.

He mapped the coast all the way up to the Bering Strait, but was unable to sail through any further north. Another stop at the Aleutian islands gave time for some repairs, then they sailed once again for the "Sandwich Islands", sighting Mau'i on November 26th.

It was another eight weeks before they found suitable anchorage at Kealakekua Bay, on Hawai'i Island on January 17th, 1779.
15. February 14th, 1779

Answer: Killed in Hawai'i at the age of 50

After a month, the expedition set sail to continue their explorations, but damage to the mast forced a return to Kealakekua Bay. From this point, despite having had good relations over the previous stretch of time, tensions rose between Cook's men and the Hawai'ians. A small boat was stolen, and as was his practice with other native cultures who had done similar things, Cook planned to take a hostage to get his equipment returned. Unfortunately, this time things didn't go well.

As Cook was trying to get Hawai'ian King Kalani'ōpu'u to come with him to the Resolution, he was attacked by a large group of Hawai'ians, who were not being as trusting as their king. Cook was stabbed and killed, along with a number of his men.

Cook was reportedly still held in great esteem, overall, and his remains were treated as a chieftan's according to Hawai'ian custom. At the request of some of the crew, however, they did return a portion of Cook's remains for a burial at sea.
Source: Author reedy

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