NOVA Online (see text links below)
Home Shackleton's Expedition Surviving Antarctica Explore Antarctic Islands Classroom Site Map
Shackleton's Voyage of Endurance
Mapping Terra Incognita
J. Dezauche, Chart of southern projection of Cook's discoveries (1773-75)
Cook map

Ostensibly dispatched for astronomical observations in 1768, fabled explorer Captain James Cook sailed south on a secret quest to find Terra australis incognita, now ensconced in the popular imagination as a flourishing civilization of some 50 million people. Skeptical of this utopian vision yet faithful to his mission, Cook believed the polar seas harbored nothingness or at best a barren wasteland. He embarked again in 1772, circling the globe on a breathtaking three-year, 65,000-mile odyssey through uncharted expanses of the Southern Ocean. Crossing the Antarctic Circle three times and travelling farther south than anyone to date, he never saw the continent, but his discoveries changed the world atlas more than any explorer in history. His polar sightings, of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, only lessened his zeal for the quest: "The disappointment I now met with did not affect me much; for to judge of the bulk by the sample it would not be worth the discovery."

previous map previous previous next map

Claudius Ptolemy (150 AD) | Oronce Finé (1531)
Henricus Hondius (1639) | J. Dezauche (1773-75)
James Clark Ross (1845) | Royal Geographical Society (1898)
United States Geological Survey (1999)

Printer-Friendly Format   Feedback

Shackleton's Expedition | Surviving Antarctica | Explore Antarctic Islands
Classroom | Resources | Transcript | Teacher's Guide
Site Map | Shackleton Home

Search | Site Map | Previously Featured | Schedule | Feedback | Teachers | Shop
Join Us/E-Mail | About NOVA | Editor's Picks | Watch NOVAs Online | To Print
PBS Online | NOVA Online | WGBH

© | Updated February 2002


Support provided by

For new content
visit the redesigned
NOVA site

Shop Teachers Feedback Schedule Previously Featured Site Map Search NOVA Online Shackleton's Voyage of Endurance