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"How Did Captain Cook Really Die? " Topic

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Tango0126 Sep 2017 12:29 p.m. PST

"The unexpurgated version of the death of Captain Cook, presenting a more realistic version than the familiar heroic scene, has been rediscovered more than 220 years after the deaths of both the explorer and the artist.

Cook died on a beach in Hawaii on February 14 1779, stabbed in the neck by an islander, in a skirmish which destroyed the previously excellent and profitable relations between the Hawaiians and the British sailors.

A painting of the scene by John Webber, the official voyage artist, and innumerable engravings of it fixed it in legend: it shows Cook with his back to the mob, nobly signalling to his ships to cease firing on men armed only with spears and a few clubs.

However John Clevely's version, based on first-hand accounts and sketches by his brother, a ship's carpenter with the voyage, shows Cook fighting desperately for his life, in the last minute of his life, his shot gone, about to club an islander with the butt of his rifle. Most of the islanders have heavy clubs, and others have picked up rocks. One is about to smash the skull of a fallen sailor and the bodies of several islanders are heaped at the water's edge.

The painting, and three other watercolours also on display, was made in about 1784, but by the time it was engraved and published, only a few years later, the artist was dead and the engraving was altered to match the official version of the story.

"The image of Cook signalling his ships to hold their fire made him a classic humane and heroic figure of the age of enlightenment," said Nicholas Lambourn, an art historian, at Christie's yesterday, where the painting went on public display for the first time.

"Clevely's is less heroic but certainly more accurate."…

The Guardian (July 13, 2004)


JMcCarroll Inactive Member26 Sep 2017 3:13 p.m. PST

Either way the Islanders said " Taste like chicken ".

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP27 Sep 2017 1:18 a.m. PST

I thought it was a crocodile that took the first nibble, after which he changed his name from Captain Cook to Captain Hook. :)

PS. Oh the irony! To have a name like Cook and then end up being eaten.

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP27 Sep 2017 6:55 a.m. PST

Either way the Islanders said " Taste like chicken ".

Technically no, we're "The Other White Meat" because this story is from Polynesia, where human flesh was called "long pig"

Chokidar Inactive Member27 Sep 2017 9:45 a.m. PST

He probably shagged himself to death but no-one could get away with painting that…

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP27 Sep 2017 9:55 a.m. PST

Lol. Death by Snu-Snu!



Tango0127 Sep 2017 10:36 a.m. PST



goragrad27 Sep 2017 2:16 p.m. PST

So fighting for one's life against odds isn't heroic?

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP27 Sep 2017 4:08 p.m. PST

Maybe he should have said less "selfless" and more a matter of strong sense of self-preservation.


42flanker28 Sep 2017 12:50 p.m. PST

So fighting for one's life against odds isn't heroic?

The painting portrays an image "less heroic" than the official print. Allegedly. Different proposition

Sandinista30 Sep 2017 11:46 p.m. PST

Cook was not eaten by the islanders

42flanker01 Oct 2017 3:17 a.m. PST

Nor did they cook Eaton.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member01 Oct 2017 10:10 p.m. PST

"MMMmmm, Cook-burger!" -- J. Wellington Whimpy

Supercilius Maximus Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member02 Oct 2017 3:37 a.m. PST

Nor did they cook Eaton.

Wonderful, yet dire, all at the same time.

A bit like being "employee of the month" at a Walmart.

Blutarski02 Oct 2017 7:39 a.m. PST

….. I heard it was actually a surfing mishap.


Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP03 Oct 2017 11:36 a.m. PST

If Captain Cook was alive today, he would be scratching at the lid of his coffin.

Maxshadow07 Oct 2017 3:42 p.m. PST

Very interesting information. Thanks Tango.

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