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  • Hi, I'm John Green, This is Crash Course World History. And today we're going to talk about

  • the life and astonishing death of Captain James Hook, whose death via crocodile chawhat?

  • James Cook? There's no crocodiles? Stupid history, always disappointing me.

  • Well, Captain Cook is pretty interesting too, and his death is a nice entrée into one of

  • the great historian feuds of recent times. God, I love historian feuds.

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  • So Captain Cook was born in 1728. He was a sailor and eventually a British Naval officer

  • who saw action in the Seven Years War, which you will no doubt remember from last week.

  • But he's best known for his three voyages of exploration and scientific discovery that

  • took place in the Pacific Ocean.

  • The first was between 1768 and 1771, the second between 1772 and 1775, and the third between

  • 1776 and 1780. Although on the last one, Cook's journey ended in 1779, because he died.

  • And as you can see from the map, Cook pretty much owned the Pacific.

  • He mapped the coast of Australia, paving the way for British colonization, and also paving

  • the way for the near destruction of aboriginal peoples and their culture.

  • As with the Columbian exchange, Cook's voyages to Australia re-made the biological landscape.

  • He introduced sheep, which paved the way for Australia's huge wool industry.

  • Right, there was a penal colony established in Australia, but the real story of Australia

  • is its success as a colony.

  • Within 80 years, Australia went from 1,000 Anglo-Australians to 1.2 million.

  • Equally important, Cook explored and mapped out New Zealand, again paving the way for

  • colonization, and paving the way for Crash Course World History to make an announcement.

  • WE DID IT! WE FINALLY TALKED ABOUT AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND. WE'RE A REAL WORLD HISTORY

  • CLASS! HUZZAH!

  • Now all you Australians have to shut up about how we've never mentioned you.

  • Right, so in his voyages, Cook also determined that there was no such thing as the mythical

  • continent of Terra Australis, said to exist here.

  • And he helped to dispel the idea of a Northwest Passage, which Europeans had been obsessed

  • with for centuries.

  • He was the first European to describe Hawaii, and also the first to keep his ship's crews

  • free of scurvy.

  • Cook and his successors were part of the middle wave of European colonization, the one that

  • took place after Europeans settled in the Americas, but before they set their sights

  • on Africa.

  • And in some ways, the colonization of Australia and New Zealand can be seen as an extension

  • of the colonization of India, which happened about 30 years before.

  • One more thing to mention about the context of these voyages, or rather, their impact.

  • Besides huge territorial gains and increased wealth, exploration of the Pacific contributed

  • to Europe's Romantic fascination with science.

  • In the 18th and 19th centuries, Europeans became obsessed with mapping, and charting,

  • and classifying the world, which maybe isn't, like, candlelight dinner romantic, but if

  • you think about visiting never-before-seen lands and bringing back odd life forms...well,

  • I mean, think about how we feel about space.

  • And then, of course, as they colonized people, Europeans portrayed themselves as a civilizing

  • force, bringing both science and religion.

  • Oh, it's time for the open letter? An Open Letter to the White Man's Burden.

  • But first, let's see what's in the secret compartment today. Oh, it's a mustache, so

  • I can look like Kipling. Dear White Man's Burden.

  • I'm gonna go ahead and take this off, Stan, I think Tumblr has had enough to get their

  • gifs.

  • So, White Man's Burden, you're a poem. And more then a century after Kipling wrote you,

  • scholars still disagree over whether he was kidding.

  • And this speaks to how weird and insane imperialism really was. Europeans seemed to genuinely

  • believe that it was their unfortunate duty to extract massive wealth from the rest of

  • the world.

  • Seriously, were you kidding when you called natives "half-devil and half-child" because,

  • in retrospect, that seems to describe, you know, you.

  • Best Wishes, John Green.

  • Right, so now having discussed the life of Captain Cook, we shall turn to the most controversial

  • thing he ever did: Die. Let's go to the Thought Bubble.

  • So Cook landed in Hawaii, at Kealakekua Bay, in early 1779 and explored the islands.

  • While he was ashore, he was greeted by an important personeither a chief or a godand

  • then in early February he left, but the ship had trouble and was forced to return to the

  • Bay for repairs.

  • During this second visit, he had difficulty with the Hawaiians, who'd previously been

  • pretty hospitable, and there was a fracas in which Captain Cook was killed by at least

  • one Hawaiian.

  • We know this from journals kept by various crewmen, but the historical controversy arises

  • from the details and interpretation of his death. Why, in short, was Cook killed?

  • The traditional view is that Cook was killed for some religious reason, although what isn't

  • always clear.

  • One of the most fleshed out versions of this story comes from the anthropologist Marshall

  • Sahlins in his book Islands of History.

  • So in the Hawaiian religious system, Ku, the god of war and human sacrifice, rules for

  • eight or nine months out of the year; the other months are reserved for the fertility

  • god, Lono.

  • The season-long festival for Lono is called Makahiki, and during this the Hawaiian king,

  • who is associated with Ku, is ritually defeated.

  • During the Makahiki, an image of Lono tours the island, gets worshipped, and collects

  • taxes.

  • And at the end of the Makahiki period, Lono is ritually defeated and returned to his native

  • Tahiti.

  • The thinking goes that because Cook arrived in the middle of the Makahiki, the Hawaiians

  • perceived him as Lono.

  • So Cook took part in the rituals and sacrifices that were made as part of the Makahiki.

  • And in Sahlins' view, Cook was killed as a ritual murder to mark the end of Makahiki.

  • For Ku to return, the festival to end, and the normal political order to be restored,

  • Lono had to be defeated and, presumably, killed.

  • For Sahlins' Cook's death fits perfectly with the ritual structure of Hawaiian culture.

  • Thanks, Thought Bubble. So the big problem with this interpretation, which, admittedly

  • sounds pretty cool, is that we don't have much evidence that Hawaiians would have actually

  • seen Cook this way.

  • We find a really interesting opposing view from Gananath Obeyesekere, and I will remind

  • you that mispronunciation is my thing.

  • Sorry, Gananath. Anyway, he criticized Sahlins' interpretation of Cook's death for looking

  • a lot more like European myth than like a Hawaiian ritual.

  • First off, Obeyesekere argues that Cook himself would not easily be confused with Lono.

  • In fact, if he was taken for a God, it would probably be Ku, the war god, what with all

  • the cannons and muskets.

  • Also, there's the fact that the name Cook sounds more like Ku than Lono.

  • Also, arguing that native Hawaiians would see a European and think him a God has all

  • kinds of troubling implications, one of them being that native Hawaiians aren't terribly

  • smart, when in fact we know that they are very smart, because unlike the rest of us,

  • they live in Hawaii.

  • And last, but definitely not least, Lono is associated with fertility, and the Hawaiians

  • would have associated the Europeans with the exact opposite of fertility, because they

  • introduced gonorrhea to Hawaii.

  • And there's a further problem with the Cook = Lono equation, which is that nothing in

  • Hawaiian religion has any of their gods being ritually killed.

  • Part of their mythology can be seen as sanctioning a ritual killing of the king, but not of a

  • god, and also it's a long way from ritual killing to actual killing.

  • The truth is probably a lot less spectacular, which is that Cook was probably killed during

  • a melee in which a bunch of Hawaiians were also killed.

  • Before his death, Cook had attempted to take a Hawaiian king hostage in response to Hawaiians

  • taking a bunch of stuff from Cook's boats.

  • This was common practice for Cook; he had done the same thing in Tahiti and other Polynesian

  • islands after islanders had taken European goods.

  • Which, by the way, happened everywhere Cook went in the Pacific, so maybe he should have

  • figured out that it was, like, a thing that you were allowed to take stuff off boats in

  • exchange for the the right to hang out there.

  • Great sailor, terrible anthropologist. Although, to be fair, anthropology hadn't been invented.

  • Additionally, right before Cook was killed, there were rising tensions between the Hawaiians

  • and the Europeans, even though, at first, their relationship had been quite cordial,

  • as evidenced by all that gonorrhea.

  • So why the tension? Probably because the Europeans dismantled a Hawaiian ritual space -- some

  • sources call it a temple -- and used it for firewood.

  • Cook attempted to pay for it, but his lowball offer of two hatchets—I'm not making that

  • upwas refused.

  • I'm sorry we destroyed your temple, but I'll give you two hatchets! One for each hand!

  • I mean, what would you even do with a third hatchet?

  • So, unfortunately the earliest Hawaiian account offering this explanation for why Cook was

  • killed comes well after the accounts, but at least it's a Hawaiian explanation.

  • Of course, it's also possible that the Hawaiians were just upset that Cook had attempted to

  • kidnap their king.

  • Most accounts from the time portray a chaotic scene in which Cook himself fired at least

  • two shots, probably killing at least one islander.

  • And one thing that seems pretty clear, even as described by European chroniclers, is that

  • Cook's death does not look premeditated, and it sure doesn't look like a ritual.

  • But even so, the idea that the Hawaiians saw Cook as a god has ended up in a good many

  • accounts of his demise.

  • Why? Well, one explanation is that it fits in with other stories of explorers.

  • You've all probably heard that the Tainos thought Columbus was a god, and that the Aztecs

  • supposedly thought Cortes was a God.

  • And this just makes Captain Cook one in a long line of Europeans who were thought to

  • be gods by people who Europeans felt were savages.

  • And making Cook a god also sets up a stark contrast between the enlightened west and

  • primitive Polynesia.

  • Because Captain Cook often appears in history books as a model man of the enlightenment.

  • Sure, he never had much formal schooling, but his voyages were all about increasing

  • knowledge and scientific exploration.

  • And having him die at the hands of a people who were so obviously mistaken in thinking

  • him a god makes an argument for the superiority over the intellectualism of the enlightenment

  • versus the so-called primitive religion of the colonies.

  • But whenever a story seems to fit really well into such a framework, we need to ask ourselves,

  • who's telling that story?

  • One of the reasons we know so much about Captain Cook (and the reason he shows up in so many

  • history textbooks) is because we have tons of records about him, but they're almost all

  • European records.

  • Even the Hawaiian records we have about Cook have been heavily influenced by later contact

  • with Europeans.

  • So, if we cast Cook's death as part of a native ritual, we're implying that Hawaiians were

  • just performing a ritual script, which takes away all their agency as human beings.

  • Are we making them recognizable, having them respond as we think Europeans would by flying

  • off the handle?

  • I don't have an answer, but the debate between these two historical anthropologists brings

  • up something that we need to keep in mind.

  • And we try to imagine that we're seeing the world as they have seen it, but the best we

  • can really do is offer an approximation.

  • So, is it really possible to present a "Hawaiian" version of Captain Cook's death?

  • Or is the exercise inherently condescending and paternalistic?

  • And most importantly, is our inability to escape our biases a good excuse for not even

  • trying? As usual, those aren't rhetorical questions. Thanks

  • for watching. I'll see you next week.

Hi, I'm John Green, This is Crash Course World History. And today we're going to talk about

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庫克船長的奇異人生和奇異死亡。世界歷史速成班 #27 (The Amazing Life and Strange Death of Captain Cook: Crash Course World History #27)

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    黃駿祐 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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