A Voyage to the Great South Sea: Completed : how England Learned of Cook's Return in 1771
In May 1771, when nearly three years had passed since the Endeavour had sailed from England to explore the 'Great South Sea', the Admiralty concluded that James Cook and his party have perished. But shortly afterwards news was received that Cook had reached Batavia the preceding October and in July 1771 the Endeavour returned to England. Because the Admiralty was reluctant to release details of Cook's voyage the first accounts of his explorations came from private letters published anonymously in the London press. Modern readers might be surprised to find that these reports gave little hint that the Endeavour's return marked the completion of one of the great sea voyages of modern times. Nevertheless, the accounts, together with Cook's own official and private letters, provide a unique eye-witness perspective on the three-year odyssey of James Cook and Joseph Banks.
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