Two Very Different Experts: Cook and Banks on the First Endeavour Voyage

1769 Cook Map of Tahiti, the Society Islands, and its Vicinity
1769 Cook Map of Tahiti and the Society Islands. Image can be found here.

In The Apotheosis of Captain Cook: European Mythmaking in the South Pacific, Gananath Obeyesekere names Captain James Cook ‘a great discoverer and one of the first anthropologists’, a man seen by Polynesians as one ‘with “a real feeling for human rights and decencies”.¹ This is perhaps the way that we modern readers view the Captain, but, as Obeyesekere also…