James Cook was born in Marton village in Yorkshire, the second of eight children. In 1745, he moved to the fishing village of Staithes where he first heard the siren song of the sea. He apprenticed in the merchant navy, while studying algebra, geometry, navigation, and astronomy, which would serve him well in the future.
(Nobody READS anymore, you know? -V.)
During the Seven Years' War Cook served as the master of the HMS Pembroke. He took part in the capture of the Fortress of Louisbourg, the Siege of Quebec City, and the Battle of the Plains of Abraham.
(Fun fact: Americans refer to the war as the French and Indian War. French Canadians call it the War of the Conquest, and - my favorite - The Swedish call it the Pomeranian War. I would pay ALL THE MONEY to watch a literal Pomeranian war. -V.)
(Get back to work Agent da Costa -O.B.)
(Otso is a cat person. -V.)
Cooks's time in the Atlantic also made him a master surveyor. He produced the first maps of the Newfoundland coast, which caught the attention of the Admiralty and the Royal Society, which launched his career as an explorer.