HMS Endeavour: Discovery of Captain Cook's ship sparks dispute between the US and Australia

Australian archaeologists confirm the resting place of Captain Cook’s ship, HMS Endeavour. However, this announcement has been challenged by US experts.

The Australian National Maritime Museum has declared that the shipwreck found off the coast of Rhode Island, is the remains of the infamous Captain Cook’s ship, HSM Endeavour. Yet, Rhode Island archaeologists claim it is still too early to confirm this.

The shipwreck

The US and Australia have been under a 22-year partnership to find the remains of Captain Cook’s ship. However, this partnership has turned into a dispute due to the recent discovery.

It was the Australian Maritime Museum’s chief executive, Sumption, who announced that the shipwreck was HMS Endeavour. This announcement is being challenged by the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (Rimap), who claims that the announcement is a breach of contract and that the Australian researchers are being led by ‘Australian emotions or politics.’

The museum claims that they have not breached the contract and that Sumption is ‘confident’ the discovered shipwreck is HMS Endeavour.

US and Australian archaeologists have been searching the Rhode Island area for 18th-century shipwrecks since 1999.

Rimap claims that there is no ‘indisputable data’ to prove the shipwreck in indeed the Endeavour, and they will their ‘legitimate report’ on their website once further studies have been undertaken.

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Captain Cook and HMS Endeavour

Captain Cook was a British explorer and captain of HMS Endeavour. The ship was originally named The Earl of Pembroke in 1764 but was renamed the Endeavour in 1768 by the British Royal Navy as it was leaving for a voyage to the South Pacific.

This was an astronomical voyage as the Endeavour set sail for Tahiti to study the transit of Venus in 1769. Captain Cook then sailed around the Pacific coast in search of ‘the Great Southern Land’ which took him along the coast of New Zealand and the Australian eastern coast, before claiming Australia as a British land on 22 August 1770.

The ship was then sold to private owners and was purposefully sunk during the American Independence War by the British Navy in 1778.

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HMS Endeavour: Discovery of Captain Cook's ship sparks dispute between the US and Australia Getty

The evidence given by the Australian Maritime Museum

Most of the evidence provided by the Australian Maritime Museum is backed up by historical documents, such as where the shipwreck was found as well as the ship’s structure, details and measurements coinciding with historical plans of HMS Endeavour.

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