German TV premiere of "Pacific" today at History

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History’s new documentary series explores Captain James Cook’s discoveries in the Pacific – and their aftermath. With actor and director Sam Neill.


Over 250 years ago, Captain James Cook made the first of his three trips to the South Pacific. The aim of the expedition was to observe the passage of the planet Venus in front of the sun. But in addition to this mission in the service of astronomy, he should also discover and take possession of unknown land masses on behalf of the British crown. In the new documentary series “Pacific – In the Footsteps of Captain Cook”, these journeys, which should change the world, are now carefully examined. For example, the sea routes Cook used were traveled again: from Tahiti to New Zealand and Hawaii to Antarctica. Even a replica of the “Endeavor” is used – the ship that the famous explorer once navigated himself.

The captain of this mission is Sam Neill. The actor and director (“Jurassic Park”, “Hunt for Red October”) was born in the United Kingdom and lived part of his childhood in New Zealand – an island nation that James Cook was the first European to enter. In the six-part documentary series, Neill now traces his own past and explores the influence Cook’s expeditions had on societies on both sides of the coasts he discovered. A current example of this is the sea routes between the two Americas and Asia. These were discovered by James Cook and are still in great demand as an instrument of economic supremacy in the Pacific.

However, the sailor Cook, who changed the world maps of the 18th century and seafaring per se so significantly, is not entirely uncontroversial. Because many of the islands that Cook and their companions discovered in the name of the Enlightenment and various western kingdoms were already inhabited. And so these pioneers laid the cornerstone of colonialism.

“Pacific – In the Footsteps of Captain Cook” explores Cook’s controversial and eventful personality. The documentary series shows special stages on his various journeys, introduces foreign cultures and questions Cook’s influence on them. The format starts in German first broadcast from today July 19 exclusively on history and from then on it always runs on Sundays 9:55 p.m. in double sequences.


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