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The first voyage of James Cook was a combined Royal Navy and Royal Society expedition to the south Pacific Ocean aboard HMS Endeavour, from 1768 to 1771. It was the first of three Pacific voyages of which Cook was the commander. Departing from Plymouth-Dock (Devonport) in August 1768, the expedition crossed the Atlantic, rounded Cape Horn and reached Tahiti in time to observe the transit of Venus. Cook then set sail into the largely uncharted ocean to the south, stopping at the Pacific islands of Huahine, Borabora and Raiatea to claim them for Great Britain, and unsuccessfully attempting to land at Rurutu.
In September 1769 the expedition reached New Zealand. Cook and his crew spent the following six months charting the New Zealand coast, before resuming their voyage westward across open sea. In April 1770 they became the first Europeans to reach the east coast of Australia, making landfall at Point Hicks, and then proceeding to Botany Bay.
The expedition continued northward along the Australian coastline, narrowly avoiding shipwreck on the Great Barrier Reef. In October 1770 the badly damaged Endeavour came into the port of Batavia in the Dutch East Indies, her crew sworn to secrecy about the lands they had discovered. They resumed their journey on 26 December, rounded the Cape of Good Hope on 13 March 1771, and reached the English port of Deal on 12 July. The voyage lasted almost three years.
250 years later, The Royal Mint issued a series of three £2 coins, released each year from 2018 to 2020, will explore Captain Cook’s voyage of discovery in real time. The coins carry three intriguing designs by sculptor Gary Breeze, which combine to create a single, complete image that tells the story of Captain Cook’s voyage.
Presented in a Royal Mint case, each Proof coin will be issued annually in a low mintage. The first time Captain Cook has been celebrated on a UK coin.
Alloy: center: 22 carat yellow gold, ring: 22 carat red gold.
The fifth crowned portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the George IV State Diadem and drop earrings.
ELIZABETH II·D·G·REG·F·D·2 Pounds·
Depicts the stern of Captain Cook’s famous ship, HM Bark Endeavour, leaving Plymouth. The ensign and the UK flag are visible alongside the distinctive signature of Cook and the number 250 to mark the anniversary.
The most intrepid investigator of the seas.
OCEANI INVESTIGATOR ACERRIMVS
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