Wikipedia:Today's featured article/April 29, 2014

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HMS Endeavour off the coast of Australia. By Samuel Atkins c.1794

HMS Endeavour was the Royal Navy research vessel commanded by Lieutenant James Cook on his first voyage of discovery to Australia and New Zealand from 1769 to 1771. She was launched in 1764 as the collier Earl of Pembroke, and purchased by the Navy in 1768 for a scientific mission to the Pacific Ocean and to explore for the surmised Terra Australis Incognita. Her voyage took her to Tahiti for the 1769 transit of Venus, then south into the largely uncharted South Pacific. In September 1769 she reached New Zealand, the first European vessel to visit in 127 years. Seven months later Endeavour became the first ship to reach the east coast of Australia, making landfall in Botany Bay on 29 April 1770. Her return voyage marred by shipwreck and the deaths of one third of her crew, Endeavour reached the port of Dover in July 1771 after nearly three years at sea. In 1776 she returned to naval service for the American Revolutionary War but was scuttled in a blockade of Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. The wreck has not been precisely located, but relics including cannons and an anchor are displayed in maritime museums worldwide. The Space Shuttle Endeavour was named in her honour in 1989. (Full article...)

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