The Death of Cook- Herb Kawainui Kane
This is a more accurate reconstruction of the moment than depicted in earlier paintings. It is based on the eye witness account of Marine Lt. Molesworth Phillips, a study of the weapons and dress of both sides, and estimates by scientists of the physical setting.
This work also includes the first depiction of Hawaiian battle mats, described in British journals as worn in the same manner as the feather capes. In combat the cape was carried over the left shoulder and held forward by the left hand to take the impact of a sling stone or to snag the point of a spear or dagger, leaving the right arm free to wield a weapon.
Geologists believe this coastline has subsided 28 inches in the last 200 years. The rock from which Cook fell is now submerged, but can be located. The waterline on the rock is the result of computer work with moon phases which produced an estimate of the tide at 8:00 AM.
In February 1779, Captain Cook attempted to take Mo’i Kalaniʻōpuʻu (King of Hawai’i) hostage against the return of a stolen boat (a boat stolen out of retaliation for disgracing a chief in public). At a threatening gesture by one of the king’s guards, he fired both barrels of his musket, then ordered the marines to fire. Instead of dispersing, the Hawaiians charged. Phillips heard Cook shout, “Take to the boats!” Phillips was struck down and stabbed in the shoulder, but raised himself and fired at his assailant before escaping. A man with a club struck Cook behind the head, while a chief in a feather cape, known to the British as Nua, rushed around a parked double canoe and stabbed him with one of the iron daggers the ship’s blacksmiths had been forging as trade items. Surgeon’s Mate Samwell described Nua as a of “… great consequence … tall and stout and one who united in his figure the two qualities of strength and agility in a greater degree, than I ever remembered to have seen before in any other man.” Cook fell face down in the water and was stabbed many times.
At the far left, the old king is being escorted to safety. Marine corporal, James Thomas, waist deep in the water, receives a mortal wound from a dagger thrust. Resolution is shown with the foremast removed for repair.
respect the beach brah