It was nice to see that the city of Anchorage has honored one of history’s most intelligent, courageous, and accomplished explorers. The first European to explore Alaska (searching for the elusive Northwest Passage between Europe and Asia), Cook not only accurately defined the coastline of Alaska, but cleaned up the map of the entire Pacific Ocean. And he found a cure for scurvy, saving the lives of countless sailors. He was a hero in his own time and was granted diplomatic immunity on the seas during wartime by all three adversaries: England, France, and the brand new United States of America.
I have read that Cook had only one failing, and that was his short temper. In February 1779, on his third and final voyage to the Pacific, he lost his temper and fired into a crowd of angry natives on the Island of Hawaii. Natives clubbed him and held him under the surf until he drowned. He was only 51 years old and, no doubt, had much more to contribute to the world.
To commemorate one of the world’s greatest navigators, the 150-mile stretch of water from Anchorage to the Pacific Ocean was named for him–Cook Inlet.