Captain James Cook claimed Australia and New Zealand for the British Empire in 1770, and now it is claimed his ship has been discovered in America, where the British also sank it
Captain Cook’s ship, HMS Endeavour, has been found at the bottom of the ocean almost 250 years after it sank.
The wreckage of the British explorer’s ship has been sitting on the seafloor in US waters for two and a half centuries, but was finally discovered after a two decade search by archaeologists.
It was discovered in Newport Harbor, Rhode Island, where marine archaeologists have been investigating a number of 18th century shipwrecks.
The Endeavor laid in its watery grave there thanks to British forces.
During the American War of Independence in 1877, the Brits purposely sank the ship.
The archaeologists have been on site since 1999, and today, the Australian National Maritime Museum chief executive Kevin Sumption confirmed that James Cook’s vessel had been identified.
Speaking to reporters, Sumption said: “It’s arguably one of the most important vessels in Australia’s maritime history.
“I am satisfied that this is the final resting place of one of the most important and contentious vessels in Australia’s maritime history.
“Based on archival and archaeological evidence, I’m convinced it’s the Endeavor.
“It’s an important historical moment, as this vessel’s role in exploration, astronomy and science applies not just to Australia, but also Aotearoa New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.”
AFP via Getty Images)
However, one American expert who was involved in the discovery has said it is “premature” to definitely say this ship is the Endeavor.
Dr Kathy Abbass, of Rhode Island Marine Archeology Project (RIMAP), called the report “premature” and was left frustrated, accusing the Maritime Museum of being “in breach of the contract” after it claimed the news to the public.
She told ABC: “What we see on the shipwreck site under study is consistent with what might be expected of the Endeavour, but there has been no indisputable data found to prove the site is that iconic vessel, and there are many unanswered questions that could overturn seek an identification.
Alamy Stock Photo
“RIMAP recognizes the connections between Australian citizens of British descent and the Endeavor but RIMAP’s conclusions will be driven by a proper scientific process and not Australian emotions or politics.”
The claims have been made that the shipwreck is the infamous Endeavor due to a number of reasons.
The structural details and shape of the ship closely match historic plans of the Endeavor.
Specifically, the construction of the keel on the bottom of the ship, and joinery on its bow at the front, are identical to those seen in 18th century plans.
On top of that, the length of the hull of the wreckage is almost identical to that recorded for the Endeavor.
Also historical evidence suggested the ship was sunk in the area, along with four other British ships.
However, only 15 per cent of the vessel remains and researchers are now working to protect and preserve what’s left.
Print Collector/Getty Images)
Sumption added: “We will continue to investigate and look closely with maritime experts at Rhode Island about the future of this site and what should happen to this site but certainly protection is what we’re working towards right now.”
Researchers are currently finalizing their report on the find, which is still ye to be peer reviewed and published.
The Endeavor originally was launched in 1764 under the name of the Earl of Pembroke.
It wasn’t until 1768 that it was renamed and prepared for its scientific voyage to the Pacific.
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From 1768 to 1771 Endeavor sailed the South Pacific, primarily to record the transit of Venus in Tahiti in 1769.
Cook then went on to sail around the South Pacific searching for the ‘Great Southern Land’ as he charted the coast of New Zealand and Australia before claiming it for Great Britain on August 22, 1770.
The ship was later sold to private owners, and renamed as Lord Sandwich before it was sunk by the same nation it served.