British navigator Captain James Cook (1728–1779) was one of the world’s greatest explorers, commanding three voyages to the Pacific Ocean and sailing around the world twice. From 1768 to 1771, aboard the ship Endeavor, Cook conducted an expedition to the South Pacific, where he landed in Tahiti, and made the first European discovery of the coasts of New Zealand, Australia, and New Guinea, which he also charted. In 1772 Cook set out to find the great southern continent that was believed to exist. He spent three years on this voyage, which edged along the ice fields of Antarctica. On his last voyage, which he undertook in 1776 on a mission to find a passage around North America from the Pacific, Cook charted the Pacific coast of North America as far north as the Bering Strait. He met his death in 1778 on the Hawaiian Islands. Cook’s voyages led to the establishment of Pacific Ocean colonies by several European nations.