This is the second part of looking at the lives of the most famous sailors that helped shape the world as we know it today. In part one we took sail with Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan and Francis Drake, who all took amazing voyages to discover new lands and find new sailing routes. In this blog we concentrate more on their successors, who took full advantage of the detailed information left behind by their predecessors and helped to create a brave new world.
John Paul Jones
This most famous American sea captain and naval officer was actually born in Scotland in 1742. As like many seamen of his generation he took to the seas at the tender age of thirteen and eight years later was a full captain and sailing the seas from British ports to the West Indies. During the American Revolution, Jones selected his side and joined the Continental Navy. Most of his successes against the British came in International waters and he commanded the pride of the American navy the Bonhomme Richard. Jones was accused of bragging in one famous sea battle against HMS Serapis, I have not yet begun to fight! Bizarrely, Jones later went on to serve in the Russian navy, making it the third country he served under.
Lord Horatio Nelson
Perhaps the most famous and one of the greatest naval commanders of all time was Admiral Lord Nelson. He was famed as one of the best naval tacticians ever to go into battle and had great personal bravery. He took to sea when he was twelve and by the time he was twenty he had his own ship. Bizarrely, Nelson suffered with sea-sickness the whole of his career which make his achievements quite staggering. His first major victories were against the Spanish in the Battle of Copenhagen and Cape Vincent. He will be ever remembered for the victory in the Battle of Trafalgar in which he lost his life.
James Cook was the first captain to reach the east coast of Australia on board a European ship, the HMS Bark Endeavor, Cook landed in Botany Bay close to Sydney and went on to even greater discoveries in his long and fruitful lifetime as a ship’s captain and adventurer. In his nautical lifetime, Cook went on to circumnavigate the globe twice, discover the Bering Strait and many of the Pacific Islands. He also navigated the difficult waters of the ice floes around Antarctica, in a way Cook was coloring in the blank spaces on the ocean charts with his detailing of little known waters. Perhaps the reason the Cook was so valuable in his explorations was that he was an excellent cartographer and could record his sea passages in great detail. Some of his maps are still used to this very day, he was highly trusted to discover uncharted territories and return back with detailed maps of the area. These pioneers of new techniques of naval warfare and map makers for the future, detailed naval history in an extraordinary period of seafaring history. They will be ever remembered for their courage and bravery of facing opponents in brutal battle as well as charting virgin waters.