The day James Cook reached Australia – level 2


In the 17th century, people in Europe started to speak about a big continent in the South Pacific. Some people were also saying that the continent was very rich.

James Cook, a famous British sailor, was given a clear order. He had to go to the Pacific Ocean, find the continent, and get its wealth for Britain.

In 1768, Cook and his ship started a journey to the southern point of South America. He went around South America and then he continued west.

When he stopped at Tahiti, the natives told him that there was no big continent in the waters around. There were only small islands.

This information didn’t stop Cook. He didn’t give up his mission and went further west where he first found New Zealand. However, New Zealand was just two big islands. So Cook continued west.

On April 19, 1770, he came to Australia. He landed in the part of Australia where Sydney is located now. Scientists from his expedition found a paradise there. During a few days, they found 150 new types of plants and animals.

Cook then went north along the coast and he discovered a big part of Australia’s east coast. He declared Australia British territory.

18 years later, Britain sent 11 ships with the first settlers to Australia. A lot of the new settlers were prisoners from Britain. Over years, 160,000 prisoners were transported to Australia. When their sentence was over, they got a piece of land in Australia and they could start a new life there.

Difficult words: wealth (a lot of money), natives (people who live in a place where they were born), paradise (a place where everything is pleasant and beautiful), coast (the area where the land meets the sea), declare (to say officially), settler (a person who goes to live in a place where not many people live), sentence (a punishment).

What other places did James Cook visit during his mission of discovering the southern continent?


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