Legendary British explorer of Australia and the Pacific, Captain James Cook is the latest figure being targeted by woke campaigners.
Cook’s legacy has been designated for demolition by the seemingly outdated Stop Trump Coalition. The campaign is riding on the coattails of the Black Lives Matter movement with its ‘Topple the Racists’ list of historical figures associated with slavery. Also on the list are long-term targets, Cecil Rhodes, and Robert Peele. Britain “must face the truth about its colonial past,” the campaign claims.
According to the coalition’s website, Cook deserves inclusion on the list, and exclusion in every other sense, because he “invaded Australia just over 250 years ago. He claimed possession over the entire nation even though it clearly belonged to the people already there.
“What followed was 250 of genocidal activities and policies based on race that murdered thousands of women, men and children. Captain Cook symbolises racial oppression and violence…[The statues] must be removed.”
Cook’s name adorns two statues in London and Whitby, which is also home to the Cook Museum. The 18th-century sailor lends his name to 125 landmarks plaques, pubs, squares and even a hospital.
“Captain Cook is one of the proudest sons of Whitby. The statue is one of our best-known landmarks, and the Captain Cook Museum is one of our most popular tourist attractions,” said Robert Goodwill, MP for Whitby and Scarborough.
“They’re trying to erase important aspects of our history, and we all need to study history and learn from any mistakes.
“There were things done in the name of the Empire that would not be acceptable now, but we don’t need to expunge them from history.”
Goodwill added: “Tourists visit the seaside town from as far as Australia to see the harbour from which Captain Cook first set sail on his voyage.
“We’re proud of Captain Cook in Whitby, and we wouldn’t countenance any attempts to remove him from the history books.”
Writing in the Telegraph, Historian Robert Tombs, author of This Sovereign Isle, Britain In and Out of Europe said: Scapegoating James Cook is a facile response to problems that we are far from having solved.”
Tombs’ piece portrays a different character to the “genocidal” navigator depicted by progressive campaigners.
“He epitomised the Age of Enlightenment in which he lived. A man of humble origins who rose to eminence through merit. The leading figure in an age of scientific exploration, in which it was mainly through his skill in navigation that (as one of his officers put it) for the first time in human history, ‘the Grand Bounds of the Four Quarters of the Globe are known’.”
Pub chain, Wetherspoons will not rename Resolution, its pub in Middlesbrough named after Cook’s flagship.
“It goes without saying that slavery is abhorrent. We will examine any examples of historical connections which are brought to our attention, including The Resolution, and discuss with customers and staff,” said a Wetherspoons spokesperson.
In 2002, Cook was voted the 12th greatest Briton of all time in the BBC’s landmark poll.