James Cook Statue
(Tyrone Hall/Twitter)

A statue of James Cook that currently sits in downtown Victoria was vandalized overnight from Wednesday to Thursday.

The statue sits across the street from the Fairmont Empress Hotel and was first erected on July 12, 1976.

Photos of the statue posted to Twitter on Thursday morning show red paint splashed across the statue’s legs and onto the ground.

There is not yet any indication as to the motive behind the incident, or the person or persons responsible.

Cook was a British Royal Navy Captain who was commissioned by the Crown in 1766 for a series of voyages in the Pacific Ocean for the purposes of exploration and territorial expansion.

As part of his commission Cook was instructed “with the Consent of the Natives to take possession of Convenient Situations in the Country in the Name of the King of Great Britain.”

It is a topic of some controversy as to whether consent could have been granted under these circumstances.

Cook had violent encounters with Indigenous people in places like New Zealand, Australia, and Hawaii, including an incident at Botany Bay (in modern-day Sydney) where Cook personally wounded an Aboriginal man who brandished a spear with a musket.

He was killed in 1779 when he attempted to kidnap the monarch of the island of Hawaii, Kalaniʻōpuʻu.

Victoria Buzz reached out to the City of Victoria and VicPD for comment but did not hear back from officials before press time.

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