Capt. James Cook was a sailor and British naval officer who is best known for his three voyages of exploration that took place in the Pacific Ocean. During these voyages, Cook's accomplishments included, among other things, mapping the coast of Australia, mapping the country of New Zealand and dispelling the myth that there was an additional continent, according to About.com's Matt Rosenberg.
Cook's first voyage took place between 1768 and 1771, and it was during this voyage that he charted New Zealand and the coast of Australia, which was known as “New Holland” during this time. His second voyage took place between 1772 and 1775. During the second voyage, he set out to find a southern continent called “Terra Australis.” After extensive searching, Cook determined that there was no additional habitable continent and dispelled the “Terra Australis” myth.
Cook's third voyage started in 1776 and was scheduled to end in 1780, but he would never complete this voyage because he died in 1779. On this voyage, Cook set out to find the passage that linked the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. While nearing the end of his voyage, Cook was in the island of Hawaii, where one of his boats was stolen. While trying to gather information about the theft, Cook got into a scuffle with one of the islanders, who ultimately stabbed and killed him.