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Born 1741; died Aug. 22, 1779, in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskii. English navigator.
Clerke participated in four circumnavigations of the globe: the 1764–66 expedition of John Byron and the 1768–71, 1772–75, and 1776–79 expeditions of James Cook. After Cook’s death on Feb. 14, 1779, he headed the expedition and sailed the ship from the Hawaiian Islands to the Chukchi Sea; however, before reaching even 70° N lat., he encountered heavy ice and was forced to turn back. In 1775 Cook named after Clerke the cliffs the expedition discovered in the southern part of the Atlantic Ocean (near 55° S lat.).