Cook Map 1775 and HMS Resolution
South Georgia was first sighted looming out of the stormy seas of the south Atlantic by a London merchant Anthony de la Roche in 1675. However, he did not brave a landing on the rocky shores and for a hundred years, the island remained untouched by humans. That all changed in 1775 when Captain James Cook and his ship HMS Resolution circumnavigated the island and on January 17th, made the first landing at Possession Bay, raising the British flag and claiming it for King George III. This day is now celebrated as a public holiday on South Georgia. Cook produced the first map of South Georgia and gave names to a number of features which persist to this day including Bird Island and Cumberland Bay. He also named the southernmost tip of the island ‘Cape Disappointment’ as it was at this point he realised South Georgia was an island, rather than the great southern continent that he had been searching for.