1978 13¢ Captain Cook
Set of 2
Issue Date: January 20, 1978
City: Honolulu, HI
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Giori press
Color: Dark blue (#1732) and green (#1733)
This two stamp se-tenant issue marks the 200th anniversary of Captain James Cook’s visits to Hawaii and Alaska in 1778. This issue is unique in that one of the stamps was printed vertically and the other printed horizontally.
Captain James Cook in Alaska
British navigator James Cook was one of the world’s greatest explorers. Cook once said his goal was “not to go farther than anyone had gone before but as far as possible for man to go.” History records that Captain Cook truly attempted to accomplish this feat. He commanded three Pacific Ocean voyages and sailed around the world twice. He was the first European to visit Hawaii, and Australia’s east coast.
Captain Cook’s exploration of Alaska in 1778 added an enormous amount of information to the blank spots on the maps of the northern coast. Cook explored what is now known as Cook Inlet. Alaska’s Captain Cook State Recreational Area honors this historic explorer.
Captain James Cook Reaches Hawaii
British navigator James Cook was one of the world’s greatest explorers. He commanded three Pacific Ocean voyages and sailed around the world twice. On his third and last Pacific voyage, Cook became the first European to visit Hawaii. Cook’s final voyage began in July 1776 and included two ships, the Resolution and the Discovery.
Captain Cook and his crew first visited Hawaii in January 1778. Cook named Hawaii the “Sandwich Islands,” after the British chief naval minister, the Earl of Sandwich. Later, Cook sailed north, crossed the Bering Strait and entered the Arctic Ocean. However, large walls of ice forced Cook to leave the area. He returned to Hawaii in November 1778.
Cook’s arrival in Hawaii coincided with an important festival. Many historians speculate that the islanders believed Cook was fulfilling a Hawaiian legend – the return from their “sea god,” Lono. Regardless, the Europeans were welcomed with great hospitality. However, friction soon developed between the crew and the islanders. Perhaps feeding the crew members of two ships was too great a strain on the Hawaiians.
The poor condition of Cook’s ships prevented him from leaving. In February 1779, a Hawaiian stole a boat from the Discovery. While Cook was investigating the theft, a fight broke out between the Hawaiians and Cook’s crew. Cook was stabbed to death during a fight on February 14, 1779.