Captain James Cook
Along the exterior of the Legislative Library are 14 statues of individuals who held prominence in the earlier history of the territory now known as British Columbia. One of those statues depicts Captain James Cook.
James Cook was born on October 27, 1728, in Marton, England. He apprenticed as a seaman after working as a labourer on his father’s farm and as a shop clerk, quickly rising to level of Commander. It was during his third voyage that Captain Cook sailed into the waters of what is now known as British Columbia. The influence and contributions of Captain James Cook’s third voyage are in no way limited to British Columbia. He spent a short period in the Pacific Northwest along what is now Vancouver Island during an expedition to find the fabled Northwest Passage. He never located the Passage, but Captain Cook did pave the way for others to make a tremendous impact by establishing a British presence in the Pacific Northwest - he particularly influenced George Vancouver, who would sail as a midshipman with Captain Cook during his Pacific voyages.
When mapping the west coast of Vancouver Island, Cook gathered and recorded a vast amount of data pertaining to the Indigenous peoples of the area and their cultures. Cook also established a trading relationship with the Mowachaht Nation and their Chief Maquinna. The knowledge gathered by Cook contributed greatly to future expeditions which eventually led to the European settlement of British Columbia. Cook died on February 14, 1779, on the Island of Hawaii.