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ǿ history lecturer publishes Captain Cook article

Valerio Massimo Donati, history lecturer at ǿ, has recently had a research article published in Terrae Incognitae – the official journal for the Society for the History of Discoveries.

The article, entitled “Weather, People, Ship”: The Environment’s Impact on Cook’s First Voyage into the Pacific, explores how the eighteenth-century Pacific environment shaped Captain James Cook’s first voyage into the South Seas in 1768.

Expressing his passion for the subject, Valerio said: “I have always had an interest in Captain Cook and his voyages of exploration. He is one of the most interesting and famous explorers in British History and of the Western World and was the first person to produce accurate charts of Tahiti, New Zealand and Australia.”

Given the extensive literature already surrounding Cook’s voyages, Valerio sought a fresh perspective and focussed on examining the environmental and cultural dimensions of eighteenth-century European explorations. Within the paper, he shed light on how factors such as weather and human interactions influenced these journeys.

By delving into expedition accounts, Valerio was able to highlight new perspectives on the unsuccessful quest for the Southern Continent, uncover mistakes in observations about uncharted territories, and understand conflicts with Indigenous people. He hopes his article will inspire learners and peers alike and broaden the conversation on eighteenth-century European explorers.

Valerio is originally from the Milan region of Italy, gained a degree in History at Universita Degli Studi di Milano, and had his first thesis published in 2016. He then spent two years in New Zealand before making the UK his home in 2020. Valerio joined ǿ in September 2023 and says: “I feel both lucky and happy to work for ǿ. I love North Devon, its green hills, and the people who live here”.

You can read the full article


05 December 2023


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