Document Type

Paper

Publication Date

5-5-2018

Abstract

18th century English Navy captain James Cook was able to achieve a level of health amongst his crew that was strikingly superior to other voyages before or (to a point) since. Cook’s efforts in dealing with scurvy, infectious disease, and putrid general living conditions resulted in an oeuvre that would be the envy of any health-minded seaman for the better part of the next two-hundred years. While the discrete factors leading to Cook’s success were many, I argue that these factors were but extensions of one key characteristic: Cook’s meticulous nature in dealing with health on his vessels. Whether it be ensuring the presence of proper antiscorbutic foods and clean water, responding tenaciously to the presence of infectious disease, or making use of Lind’s similarly stringent sanitation methods, Cook’s strict dedication to health undoubtedly saved a great number of lives during his voyages, and his recommendations to the Royal Navy after his highly successful second voyage likely saved countless others.

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