Despite Cook’s demonstration of the dimensions of Australia in his first voyage, contemporary scientists believed the real Terra Australis was bigger still and further south. In 1772, he was commissioned to find it. His expedition visited a number of Polynesian islands, and discovered the bellicose propensities of the Maori tribes. However, despite crossing the Antarctic Circle, he would not reach Antarctica. Garlanded with honours and retired, Cook volunteered for one last venture to discover the North-West Passage. After first visiting Hawaii, he sailed to North America, charting the Pacific coastline from Vancouver up to the Bering Strait, sailing through the passage to reach 70 degrees north before being blocked by sea-ice. He then sailed back via the Siberian coastline before once more visiting Hawaii. There he became involved in a dispute with the islanders over a stolen boat, and was killed in the resulting mêlée (1779).
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