Pronunciation key

( eks′plə-rāshən )
( eks′plô-rāshən )



[L. < exploratio < pp. of explorare; see EXPLORE].

  1. Act of looking into something closely. To examine. Careful scrutiny.
  2. Traveling to little known regions for the purpose of discovery .
  3. Medical. Examination or probing of organs, etc.


  • Ancient and Medieval Exploration
  • The Phoenicians
  • The Ancient Greeks
  • East-West Contact
  • The Vikings in the Middle Ages
  • East-West Contact Renewed
  • Greatest Age for European Discovery
  • East-West Contact
  • The New World
  • Magellan's Expedition
  • Spanish New World Conquest
  • Quest To Find a Northern Passage
  • Mapping The Globe
  • Crossing of North America
  • Exploration of the Pacific
  • Exploration of Africa
  • Exploration of Australia
  • Polar Exploration and Discovery of Northwest Passage
  • The most primitive ancestors of humans were explorers. More than 100,000 years ago Neanderthal Man, followed by Cro-Magnon had spread throughout most of Europe, North Africa and central Asia. Therefore, explorers set the course for human history, millenniums prior to recorded history. Search for new hunting grounds instigated the first wanderings of prehistoric man but as civilization progressed forward, conquest, gold, trade, pressures of population and religion became the driving motivation of later explorers.

    Leaders of early civilizations sent explorers into unknown regions to establish trade relations, or in search for gold and other wealth or even to locate sites for new settlement.

    The reasons for their expeditions may have been different they all shared some special qualities, a love for adventure and strong desire to discover the unknown. Also, the fearlessness to risk death to achieve their goals.

    The unknown as a challenge had great influence on Christopher Columbus when he sailed from Spain in 1492, westward en route to Asia. The discoveries of Columbus and his fellow explorers provided opportunities for further exploration. Through efforts of such explorers almost all parts of the world had became known by the early 1900's.

    Explorer by Rupert Matthews
    by Rupert Matthews

    Ancient and Medieval Exploration

    The First Explorers in Recorded History

    Earlier than 5000 B.C. the Cretans not only explored but were a dominating force in the Mediterranean and were in communication with Mesopotamia and possibly China.

    These explorers were actually traders from lands such as Babylonia, Egypt and nearby nations. Babylonia was an ancient civilization centered in Mesopotamia which is now known as southeastern Iraq. Its traders gained extensive knowledge about distant lands during their travels. About 2500 B.C. traders from Babylonia went on expeditions and traveled as far west as the Mediterranean Sea.
    Around the same time the Egyptians sent an expedition down the Red Sea to Africa's east coast then known as Punt. Experts believe Punt was then located near what is today known as Somalia. Around 1500 B.C. the Queen of Egypt named Hathshepsut sent traders to Punt in ships which were powered by sails and oars.
    The Minoans who dwelt on the island of Crete dispatched ships at least as far as Sicily before 1500 BC.

    The Phoenicians

    These explorers became the leaders on the sea during ancient times. They lived at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, in the coastal region and what is now Israel, Lebanon and Syria. They became the first to sail the length of the Mediterranean, possibly as early as 1100 BC, colonizing Utica. Around 750 BC they established and fortified trading posts at Gades (now Cádiz, Spain) and Carthage, which is near the present day location known as Tunis, Tunisia as a shipping and trade post. Later, they are hailed to have went through the Strait of Gibraltar at the western end of the Mediterranean Sea and established colonies on the shores of North Africa's Atlantic shores. They are thought to possibly have made a three year voyage around Africa, around 600 BC.[Grolier, 1991]. During the 400's BC, the Phoenicians at Carthage dispatched a fleet of 60 ships to explore the Atlantic coast of Africa to establish new settlements. The fleet was commanded by Hanno. He may have explored as far south as what is present day Senegal. But due to diminished supplies he was forced to turn back.[World Book 1981]. Expeditions possibly visited as far north as the coasts of Britain. There Phoenicians were the first explorers in the modern sense, but they were not ones to share much information about their discoveries. Rather, knowledge of new territories was suppressed for military or trade purposes, therefore misleading reports were circulated. The Phoenicians had perhaps fabricated horror stories to deter the Greeks from venturing beyond the Strait of Gibraltar and becoming competitive in trade. [American People's Encyclopedia, 1960].

    The Ancient Greeks

    By the 8th century, the Greeks had moved into the regions of the Black Sea and sailed widely on the Mediterranean, with colonies being established in Libya, Sicily and Massilia. [Grolier's 1991 refers to the spelling as Massilia vs. Massalia]. These explorers learned more about geography of the world than any of the peoples before them. Greece in ancient time reached its height of power around the 400's BC. During this time, Greek sailors explored the European and African shores of the Mediterranean searching for potential locations for new colonial settlements. About 100 years later two of the most important figures in Greek exploration emerged, these being Pytheas, philosopher, astronomer and mathematician and Alexander the Great, who was a notorious conqueror, general and king.

    Pytheas lived in Massalia, a Greek colony where today is located in Marseille, France. His plans included studying the tides of the Atlantic in various locations. Around 330 BC Pytheas sailed from Massalia through the Strait of Gibraltar and explored the coasts of the Atlantic, today known as Portugal, Spain and France. He ventured westward beyond the Mediterranean around 325 BC. Pytheas sailed past what is known today as the British Isles and continued north until his expedition was blocked by ice, forcing him to turn back. Pytheas spoke of a land named Ultima Thule later that presumably lay near the northernmost point of his journey. Experts believe this land to have been what is present day Baltic territory, Iceland or Norway. He had sailed into the Arctic circle for about 100 miles before turning back. Not only is Pythias the discoverer of Britain, but he is the first great explorer's whose name is known with certainty. Amidst his accomplishments in exploration, he is also credited with demonstrating lunar control of the tides and applied astronomy to geography thus making it possible to locate a given position on the earth with precision. The creation of accurate maps began with Pythias.

    Alexander the Great was preparing to launch a military campaign around the same time in history, greatly expanding the world that was known to the Greeks. He was the son of King Philip II of Macedonia, a nation north of Greece. Philip II defeated the Greeks and formed an alliance between Greece and Macedonia. Alexander succeeded his father on the throne and set out to expand Greek and Macedonian power.

    In 334 BC, Alexander who was age 22, set out with his army and defeated a Persian army at what is present-day Turkey. This young king then proceeded into the Middle East to fight his way across western Asia, and conquered Babylonia, Persia and much of what is now Afghanistan, including part of India, in 326 BC. While in India he sailed down the Indus River to the Indian Ocean. From there he marched westward across the desert of Gedrosia in what is Pakistan in modern day.

    Alexander died in 323 BC. The world known to the Greeks had been expanded from the location known as Ultima Thule in the Northern Atlantic and stretching all the way to parts of India.

    A Legal History of Rome

    East-West Contact

    About 200 years after the death of Alexander the Great, contact between China and Europe was established. The Chinese first learned of Europeans from the descendants living in India and other regions conquered by Alexander. In 138 BC Chinese Emperor Wu-ti appointed Chang Chʼien, an official to represent him and dispatched him to western Asia. Chang explored central Asia from 128 to about 126 BC and returned with knowledge of trade routes. Thus, leading to opening of a route from Yarkand (now Soche) in western China where Indian, European and Chinese trade was established.

    Around a century later the Roman Empire partook of an increasing role in affairs of the East-West trade. Around 100 AD when the Roman Empire reached its greatest size it controlled about ¼ of European territory, much of the Middle East and the northern coasts of Africa. The Roman Empire produced no major explorers that are noteworthy in history with exception to Julius Caesar, the only Roman comparable to Alexander the Great, though it did achieve to conquer establish new boundaries and set up colonies on European soil of which little was previously known. These areas included what are now modern-day France, Germany, Great Britain and Spain. Traders from Rome carried with them goods from India, China and Africa. And with it, expanded on Europe's knowledge of the world. Trade between Europe and the East continued to flourish until late 400 AD. By that time the native Germanic peoples who had little interest in Eastern products had taken control of most of western Europe. Between the first century BC and the fourth century AD, exploration was on the decline in Europe and even moreso during the dawn of the Middle Ages.

    The Vikings: Voyagers of Discovery and Plunder

    The Vikings in the Middle Ages

    Important contributions in the history of exploration were made during the period called the Middle Ages. This period spanned from about 400 to 1500. The Vikings occupied the region of Scandinavia, an area located in Europe that include what is today known as Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Around the 700's the Scandinavians felt the effect of population growth and a shortage of farming land. Many Vikings left their native land to find new locations to make a living. Some sailed to what are now England, Iceland (approx. 870 where they discovered Irish monks), Ireland and Scotland. The first Norse settlers permanently established themselves during 874. From Iceland it was but a short distance to Greenland for the Vikings.

    Around the spring of 982, Eric the Red, a Viking sailed from Iceland to a large land mass which is now known as Greenland (around the 980's) from which voyages were made. Some years later another captain of the Vikings named Bjarni Herjulfsson, sailed for Greenland to join Eric's colony. A storm carried him close to the east coast of what is known today as Canada. Herjulfsson therefore became the first known explorer to venture near the mainland of North America.

    Vikings discover Labrador
    Image credit: Google Maps

    In about the year 999, Leif Ericson, son of Eric the Red commanded an expedition to explore the region Herjulfsson reported seeing. While returning from a voyage to Norway he steered too far to the left and struck Labrador. The Vikings established a settlement at a place Ericson named Vinland (which means "Wineland" named for the land's abundance of wine berries). Thorvald, Eric's second son, with Karlsefini attempted settlement of Vinland but Thorvald was killed and the others returned to Greenland, between 1006-1010.
    It is inconclusive where Vinland was located, but some scholars believe that it probably is located in what today is the Canadian province of Newfoundland. Remains of a Viking settlement were located there in 1961. Indians, perhaps even Eskimos who dwell in the region often attacked Vinland, and the Vikings ultimately abandoned the settlement. Scandinavians thus lost interest in the land.

    Although southern Europeans learned of the Norsemen's discovery, they were but little interested in Vinland's furs and fish; and the distance across the Atlantic to the south was so much greater than in the north that a crossing there was delayed until the era of Christopher Columbus.
    Columbus was not the first explorer to conceive the notion of the earth's being round. Such a belief was held by Greek philosophers as early as 600 BC and Aristotle argued the earth must be a sphere because of the circular shadow cast on the moon during an eclipse. Further, Eratosthenes, around 200 BC mathematically computed the earth's circumference with only a 5% error. Thus, by the time Columbus was at the height of his exploration it was no new idea that sailing west one could reach the Far East. Of course, he had hoped to arrive at Asiatic lands, rich in gold and spices via a shorter, less dangerous route. Henry VII of England also commissioned John Cabot (May 2, 1497) to find what, on a spherical earth, might create a shorter route to Asia than that discovered by Spanish explorers.

    God's War: A New History of the Crusades

    East-West Contact Renewed

    In the latter 1000's interest in the Middle East was renewed in Europe as a result of the Christian expeditions known as the Crusades. European leadership organized these expeditions to recapture regions in the Middle East where Jesus Christ lived. At that period in history, Islamic followers controlled the region, preventing Christian pilgrims from visiting sacred shrines. The Crusades began in 1096 and continued for about 200 years.

    The crusaders learned about unusual and exciting products such as jewels, porcelain, silk and spices that came from the Far East, while stationed in the Middle East. Upon return home their stories about these products created a surge in demand for them in Europe. Italian merchants in Genoa and Venice began conducting business with Middle Eastern traders, obtaining the products from Asia.

    Muslim Arabs with home the Crusaders had fought had knowledge of and contact with India and China, and rise of the Mongols in Central Asia made it possible for relatively safe travel for Europeans.

    During the middle of the eleventh century Europeans came into more direct contact with eastern Asian people. However, warriors such as the Mongols ruled the vast majority of Asia. In 1245, Pope Innocent IV sent John of Plano Carpini (Giovanni da Pian del CARPINI) eastward by land, a Franciscan friar to establish friendly relations with the Khan or ruler of the Mongols. The friar returned from what is modern day Mongolia with much knowledge of the Mongols from this journey. In 1253 King Louis IX of France sent a friar, William of Rubruck to visit the Khan, hoping the friar could persuade him to adopt Christianity and form an alliance against the Muslims. Rubruck failed, but again returned with stories about the incredible wealth of eastern Asia. These stories made European merchants all the more interested to expand trade eastward.

    The Ancient Silk Road Map

    About 1260-1269, two merchants from Venice, Nicolò and Maffeo Polo set out on a trading expedition, reaching China during the 1260's and established friendly relations with the great Mongol leader Kublai Khan. The brothers returned to Venice with a fortune of jewels and other products. In 1271, the Polos struck out for China once again, this time with Nicolò's young son Marco who was 17 years of age. They remained there, for 24 years.

    Marco Polo was an educated youth who spoke four languages and made such an impression on Kublai Khan that he was sent on official tours in the kingdom. For more than 15 years Marco traveled throughout China and Southeastern Asia as a representative of the Khan. When Marco returned home in 1295, they went mainly by sea, he wrote and published Description of the World about his travels. Marco's travels became widely read in Europe and led to closer relations between Europe and the people of Far East Asia.

    Marco Polo
    From the Granger Collection
    Marco Polo (1254-1324)

    Marco Polo's Expeditionary Trail
    Marco Polo's Expeditionary Trail

    Other travelers provided accounts of their exciting journeys during late 1200's and 1300's. Among those are Odoric of Pordenone and Ibn Batuta. Odoric was an Italian missionary that sailed to China in 1314 by the Indian Ocean and South Pacific. He returned to Europe by crossing central Asia, arriving home in 1330.

    Odoric of Pordenone
    Image credit: Travels of Odoric of Pordenone(1265-1331)into China and the East, in 1318
    Odoric of Pordenone(1265-1331)

    Ibn Batuta, a Muslim judge from Tangier was an Arabian traveler whom from 1325-1354 visited Southeast Asia, China, West Africa and the Middle East.

    Travels of Ibn Battuta
    Image credit: Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354. Selections from Ibn Battuta, Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354, tr. and ed. H. A. R. Gibb (London: Broadway House, 1929)
    Travels of Ibn Battuta

    Greatest Age for European Discovery

    In the 1400's, wealthy Europeans wanted to invest in products exported from the East including jewels, porcelain, silk and spices like cinnamon, cloves, pepper, etc. As demand for these products increased they became more expensive. In 1453, Turkish-Muslims gained control over the main overland trade routes between Europe and the East and began charging higher prices for products. Major trading nations in Europe began to search a way to bypass Muslim middlemen and discover an express sea-route to the Indies as eastern Asia was then called by Europeans.

    Portugal and Spain were in the lead by launching expeditions to discover the route. These expeditions opened the greatest age of exploration, leading to the rediscovery of the Americas by European explorers.

    During the 1400's, explorers from Portugal focused their attention on the west coast of Africa. Prince Henry, the son of Portuguese King John I became known as Henry the Navigator due to his sponsorship of such early voyages in hope of establishing a sea route for trade with India and location John Prester, a legendary Christian ruler in Africa.

    The period in which Prince Henry the Navigator supported the expansion of Portuguese exploration, the first ventures into the tropics were underway, where for 1500 years it had been believed human life was impossible due to the burning heat. He worked to improve the ships, their instruments and maps. After many trips his crews sailed progressively farther south along the African coastline. He sent ship after ship southward, each sailing a bit farther along the coast until in 1488 Bartholomeu Diaz rounded the Cape of Good Hope proving Africa could be circumnavigated.
    Upon Henry's death in 1460, the coast had been traced to modern-day Sierra Leone.

    Bartolomeu Dias
    Credit: Portugeuse Navigators
    Bartolomeu Dias

    After the death of Henry the Navigator, the Portugeuse crown continued to lend its support to continued exploration. In the late 1400's, Portugal's community of explorers became increasingly interested in reaching the southern tip of Africa, believing such a discovery would aid them in discovery of a new route to reach Asia. In 1487, Bartolomeu Dias, a Portuguese explorer struck out to discover a route around Africa. He sailed along the continent's southwestern coast and a violent storm blew his ship beyond the southern tip. Dias made the realization he was sailing eastward with no land in view and therefore must have rounded Africa. On the return trip, Dias located land jutting out from the southern tip. According to the traditional story, King John II of Portugal named the location the Cape of Good Hope.

    The Diario of Christopher Columbus's First Voyage to America, 1492-1493 by Christopher Columbus, James E. Kelley (Translator), Oliver Dunn (Translator)

    East-West Contact

    During the time Portuguese explorers were searching for a sea-route to Asia, other Europeans were looking toward the west, believing that the shortest route to the Indies might lay across the Atlantic. One explorer who held this belief was Christopher Columbus who was a sea captain from Genoa. He tried to persuade King John II to give him command for a westward expedition but his proposition was rejected by royal advisors. Refusing to give up, Columbus presented his plan to other rulers in Europe such as Queen Isabella of Spain who accepted his proposition. In the year 1492 she and King Ferdinand V provided Columbus with three ships named Niña, Pinta and Santa María promising him honor and wealth should he accomplish reaching the Indies. Christopher Columbus underestimated the distance. He believed it was about 3000 miles (4800 kilometers).

    Columbus began his journey from Palos, Spain on August 3, 1492. The three ships first sailed to the Canary Islands just off the Atlantic coastline of Northern Africa. The expedition then left the Canaries on September 6, heading in a westward direction across the ocean and sailed for more than a month without seeing land. On October 10, they pressured Columbus to turn back and threatened mutiny if refusing, but Columbus persuaded them to keep up spirits and continue on and after two days a sailor on the Pinta spotted land, an island. On October 12, 1942 Columbus made landfall in the Bahamas.

    Columbus made landfall and named the island San Salvador (Watling Island) and also visited two other islands Hispaniola (today shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and Cuba. Columbus was under the impression he had reached the Indies and called the people he acquainted Indians. He began heading home during January 1493 and reached Palos in March. News of his discovery generated great interest and excitement among Europeans. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella bestowed upon him the title Admiral of the Ocean Sea.

    The fifteenth and sixteenth centuries emerged as the golden age of exploration with the Portuguese and Spanish holding the center of the stage with a shorter commercial route to the Indies as the ultimate goal. Just as the Phoenicians had considered their geographical discoveries to be inside trade secrets, the Portuguese did as well. Therefore, they were not credited properly with many of their greatest discoveries for many of their own people remained ignorant. Therefore, most certainly the Portuguese knew South America long before Columbus visited it on his voyage in 1498, but nonetheless, to him the credit was given for its discovery.

    The majority of Europeans were under the belief that Columbus had reached the Indies, but the Portuguese were not, pointing out that Columbus did not bring back spices or other known Asian goods. The Portuguese remained convicted in the belief the best route to Asia would be made by sailing around Africa. Thus, in 1497, Vasco da Gama sailed around Africa. He returned in 1499 and had succeeded to reach India by a commercially practical sea route. Even before Columbus died it was common knowledge among Europeans that he had failed to reach Asia and English interest in North America was practically non-existent.

    In 1497, King Manuel I of Portugal commissioned the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama to pick up on the route which Bartolomeu Dias had journeyed and sail all the way to Asia. Da Gama set out from Lisbon on July 8 with four ships. Soon, the voyage ran into problems with powerful storms which battered the ships and food supplies running low. A disease called scurvy began killing many crew members as well. Following three months at sea, the Cape of Good Hope was still nowhere in sight and by October the crew pressed Da Gama to halt the mission. Da Gama argued the cape should lay just ahead and continued onward with the expedition.

    Vasco da Gama
    Credit: Portugeuse Navigators
    Vasco da Gama

    On November 22, the voyage reached the Cape of Good Hope and sailed around the tip of the continent making several stops on the eastern coastline of Africa. They landed at Malindi, modern day Kenya, and hired an Arabic navigator to guide them across the Indian Ocean. This expedition arrived in Calicut, India on May 20, 1498. Da Gama had discovered the sea route to Asia, making possible further Portuguese advances into Asia and Portuguese overseas empire.

    The World As It Was Known to Europeans

    The World Known to The Europeans in 1200
    The World Known to The Europeans in 1550
    The World Known to The Europeans in 1850
    The World Known to The Europeans in 1950

    The New World

    Columbus crossed the Atlantic several times including 1493, 1498 and 1502. He explored what is known today as Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and coasts of modern-day Panama and Venezuela, eventually realizing he had not reached the Indies but still was under the impression that he was not far away from it.

    In 1500, Pedro Álvares Cabral a Portuguese explorer, sailed to what is now known as the coast of Brazil. He was attempting to sail a wide course around Africa to India and blown even farther west by storms, instead reached South America. During his later life Cabral made the complete trip around Africa, and succeeded to reach India.

    The achievements of an Italian explorer, Florentine Amerigo Vespucci of Florence, whose name was given to the new world have been obscured because no detailed account has been accepted. In 1497 he voyaged to Honduras and the Gulf of Mexico. He sailed on three expeditions to South America, the first of which lasted from 1499 to 1500 with Spanish explorer, Alonso de Ojeda and two other voyages from 1501-1502 and 1503-1504, with Gonçalo Coelho a Portuguese captain. He struck Brazil in 1501 exploring the east coast of South America. Vespucci later made the claim he had reached a "New World." In 1507, a German mapmaker Martin Waldseemüller insisted this new world should bear the name of America after Amerigo Vespucci.

    An Italian navigator, John Cabot, led an expedition from England to North America on May 2, 1497. Cabot convinced King Henry VII that he could reach the Indies of Columbus, by a shorter route than the one taken by Columbus. Cabot set sail from Bristol, England in May, and sailed west across the Atlantic following a great circle, far north of Columbus' route. About one month later he landed in what is today, modern day Newfoundland or the Cape Breton Island of Canada, perhaps Nova Scotia. He satisfied himself that the land was continental in nature and returned to England without jewels and gold, but rather with tales of fabulous cod fishing off the banks of Newfoundland. In 1498 he made a second voyage, however the English who were disappointed with such expeditions did not think of claiming a new continent. It would be a half century later that they would realize the importance of Cabot's discovery.

    Around 1508, the king sent Sebastian, the son of Cabot to search for a water route through the land his father had discovered. This route which he forged became known as the Northwest Passage. While in search of it, Cabot's son Sebastian sailed near the North American coastline, perhaps as far south as what is known today as North Carolina. England gained extensive information about the enormity of the North American coastline due to this voyage.

    In 1513, Vasco Núñez de Balboa, a Spanish explorer, led a voyage across to what is now Panama from its Atlantic coast to its Pacific coast. He was the first European to view an Eastern shore of the Pacific Ocean. His discovery was important in founding the understanding that the New World was a large mass of land centered between Europe and Asia.

    Magellan and Da Gama: To the Far East and Beyond by Clint Twist

    Magellan's Expedition

    During the period of Balboa's discovery, Europeans began wondering if it were possible to sail around South America to Asia. A skilled Portuguese navigator, Ferdinand Magellan believed that indeed he could discover such a route, thus approaching King Manuel I of Portugal with his proposition but was rejected. King Charles I of Spain agreed to sponsor the expedition in 1518. Magellan, sailing under the flag of Spain, sought to prove the Spice Islands were located on the Spanish side of the line of demarcation between Spanish and Portuguese spheres of interest established in 1494 by the Treaty of Tordesillas.

    On September 20, 1519, Magellan set sail from Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain. His expedition consisted of five ships and a crew of about 240 men. Upon reaching the northeast coast of Brazil, the coastline southward was followed. He landed at what is today known as San Julián, Argentina in March 1520 waiting out the southern winter that lasts from about June to September.

    October 18, Magellan sailed and just three days later, the ships entered a passage known today as the Strait of Magellan, located at the southern tip of South America. On November 28, three out of five ships sailed out into the Pacific Ocean. One of the remaining two ships had been wrecked during a storm, and one other had returned to Spain.

    Expedition Route of Portuguese navigator, Ferdinand Magellan
    Kingfisher History Encyclopedia ©1999
    Expedition Route of Portuguese navigator, Ferdinand Magellan

    Magellan informed his men that they were nearing the Indies. However, the expanse of the Pacific was far greater than Magellan anticipated and they sailed for more than three months without a single sight of land except for two uninhabited islands. Their food supply diminished and to survive the crew was forced into consumption of ox hides and rats to stay alive. In March of 1521, Magellan landed on what is now known as Guam where he was able to gather supplies. From there, the voyage continued onward to what is the modern Phillipine Islands. It was there Magellan was entangled in a conflict with local inhabitants and was killed during battle on April 27, 1521.

    Death of Portuguese navigator, Ferdinand Magellan
    Death of Portuguese navigator, Ferdinand Magellan

    Following the death of Magellan, one of the ships was abandoned by the expedition. The remaining two sailed toward the Spice Islands (today part of Indonesia). One of these ships Victoria continued their sail westward under command of Juan Sebastián del Cano, a former lieutenant of Magellan. He crossed the Indian Ocean and sailed around the Cape of Good Hope. Though heavily damaged and with only a crew of 18 men, they finally docked in Spain on September 6, 1522. The ship had traveled more than 50,000 miles (80 km) and taken almost three years in the process. This expedition was the first circumnavigation of the world.

    Spanish New World Conquest

    In the early 1500's explorers from Spain poured across Central and South America. After them, waves of conquering armies and settlers followed.

    In 1519, one of the most important Spanish expeditions began in the New World. It was that year Hernando Cortés and an army consisting of about 600 Spaniards sailed from Cuba to the east coast of what would be later known as Mexico. Cortés had heard the rumors of a wealthy Indian empire and struck out to locate it. Upon landing on the coast, he learned of the Aztecs, a civilization that was inland and of some further distance.

    Cortés and his army marched inland to the Aztec capital at Tenochtitlán (today known as Mexico City). The Aztecs, including their emperor Montezuma embraced the unusual white visitors as gods. However, Cortés took Montezuma as a captive and began ruling the empire through him. The Indians were forced to give the Spaniards a fortune in gold and other wealth. In 1520 the Spaniards were driven out of Tenochtitlán by the Aztecs, during a rebellion. However, the following year Cortés defeated the Aztecs and he seized permanent control over the empire. This victory lead to the Spanish conquest of Central America, making Mexico one of Spain's most important acquisitions in the New World.

    In 1533, Francisco Pizarro a Spanish explorer and conqueror, conquered the empire of the Inca Indians located in what is now known as Peru. Diego de Almagro, explored what is now western Bolivia and crossed the Andes Mountains in Chile between 1535-1537. Spanish explorers traveled as far as the Strait of Magellan. The Spaniards also explored the region that is known today as the southern United States. In 1513, Juan Ponce de León, an explorer, set sail from Puerto Rico, landing on eastern shores of Florida. In 1539, an army of 600 Spaniards sailed from Cuba to Florida's west coast and commanded by Hernando de Soto. They were in search of gold, and this expedition traveled through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana in which they found no great riches, but became the first Europeans to reach the Mississippi River.

    A Spanish army left Mexico in 1540, marching northward in search of the Seven Cities of Cibola, which were part of Indian legends to be froth with gold, silver and jewels. This expedition, led by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, traveled through what is today known as Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. During their expedition they mapped much of the American Southwest, but never discovered the legendary Seven Cities.

    In 1500, Vicente Pinzón sailed into the mouth of the Amazon but it was not successfully explored until 1541 when a Spaniard, Francisco de Orellana, achieved the first crossing of South America.

    It was during this time the Dutch began to attempt to compete with the Portuguese and Spaniards in finding a route to the East Indies by the Cape of Good Hope. Their expedition lead instead to the discovery of northern Australia by Willem Janszoon, sailing on the ship Duyfken. Not until 1642 did Abel Tasmen discover the southern extension of Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, the Tonga and Fiji Islands.

    Quest To Find a Northern Passage

    The length of time Magellan's voyage was not feasible to European merchants who were still obsessed with discovering shorter sea routes to Asia, either by the Northwest Passage to the Indies across North America or a Northeastern Passage that lay north of Europe.

    King Francis I dispatched an expedition to America in 1524 in hope of finding the Northwest Passage. Italian navigator Giovanni de Verrazano commanded this expedition. He never found the passage but he did explore North America's eastern coast extensively. In 1535, French explorer Jacques Cartier set sail and arrived at St. Lawrence River to what is modern-day Montreal. This event helped shape development of the French empire's reach in North America.

    During the 1570's and 1580's, many English explorers searched for the Northwest Passage. Martin Frobisher made three attempts to locate passage north of Labrador. Following Magellan's lead to sail around South America, Sir Francis Drake explored the Pacific coast of North America searching for an opening to the Northwest Passage. John Davis attempted to locate it as well, by sailing on the western coastline of Greenland.

    Numerous navigators searched for the Northern Passage throughout the 1500's including English explorers Richard Chancellor, Charles Jackman, Arthur Pet and Hugh Willoughby. Three attempts were made as well by Dutch navigator Willem Barents.

    Mapping The Globe

    During the late 1500's, the Spaniard empire had expanded its reach over South America and Mexico having moved into the region of modern-day Southeastern and Western United States. The English and French were the primary explorers of North America during the 1600's after they had arose to become the two most powerful nations in Europe. Gradually, through the 1700's and 1800's European explorers completed outlining the world map with other locations that were previously unknown, including mapping the vast Pacific Ocean and making their way though Australian and African interiors, including reaching the Antarctic and Arctic. The North and South Poles were finally explored during the early twentieth century.

    Fur traders among the French played a crucial part in North American exploration learning much about the land and developing trade with Native Americans. They traded in beaver, fox, mink and fur of other small animals. The most highly prized was the beaver skin. In Europe with the influx of such skins, they were applied in the production of felt hats, followed by demand of those hats, skyrocketing.

    French explorer Samuel de Champlain in 1603, took the same route as Jacques Cartier up the St. Lawrence River to the site of Montreal. While there, the Native Americans told Champlain about bodies of water that lay westward. Such stories provided him hope of discovering the Northwest Passage. The city of Quebec was founded as a trading center for fur in 1608. Much of the following 27 years were spent exploring the rivers and lakes southwest of Quebec.

    Champlain sent explorer Jean Nicolet on an expedition to the western shore of what is known today as Lake Michigan in 1634. Native Americans living there told Nicolet about the great river known as the Mississippi which flowed through the nearby land.

    The French had hoped that the Mississippi might provide the way to the Pacific Ocean. The Mississippi was reached by French explorers in 1673 including Louis Jolliet, a French-Canadian fur trader and a French missionary Jacques Marquette. They arrived nearby what is now known as Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin by canoe. They paddled southward to where the Mississippi meets the Arkansas River. From the Native Americans who dwelled there they learned that the river lead to a part of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, but was not directly connected to the Pacific Ocean.

    French explorer René-Robert Cavalier, Sieur de la Salle led an expedition to the mouth of the Mississippi at the Gulf of Mexico in 1682. He staked claim on all the territory of the Mississippi and its branches, for France.

    The first permanent settlement in North America by the English came in 1607, founded at Jamestown, Virginia. By 1670, settlements were established in 12 of 13 of the original colonies. The 13th colony was established in Georgia in 1733.

    England laid claim on much of what is eastern Canada, based on a expedition of English explorer Henry Hudson who was in search for the Northwest Passage. Hudson sailed through a northeastern Canadian strait in 1610 into a large bay he presumed to be the Pacific Ocean. Today it is known as the Hudson Bay. From there he sailed south into an arm of the Hudson Bay, what is today known as James Bay but it was winter and his ship became trapped by ice. The crew members endured much suffering from the cold and dwindling food supply. After the weather turned warm and the ice melted many of the crew members returned to England and abandoned Hudson. Hudson was never heard from again.

    How We Crossed the West: The Adventures of Lewis and Clark

    Crossing of North America

    French and English explorers forged their way westward across North America during the 1700's discovering the northern limits of the continent. French-Canadian fur trader Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, Sieur de la Vérendrye and his three sons explored as far west as Saskatchewan between 1731 and 1743. The sons also traveled southward as far as what is known as South Dakota and the Missouri River. Sieur de la Vérendrye may also have been the first to reach the Rocky Mountains.

    Samuel Hearne, an English explorer proved that North America extended all the way to the Arctic in 1771. His explorations included the land between the Coppermine River which flows through Northwest Canadian territories and Hudson Bay.

    An agent, Sir Alexander Mackenzie of the North West Company, specializing in the fur trade industry explored what is known today as the Mackenzie River, tracing its route north from the Great Slave Lake to the Arctic Ocean. Mackenzie led an expedition in 1792-1793 to the Peace River through to Alberta and the Rocky Mountains, and what is now known as British Columbia. Located west of the mountains the expedition followed the Fraser River about 100 miles and then traveled over land to the Pacific. Mackenzie's expedition gave the necessary evidence that no waterway existed that completely cut through the continent.

    Sir Alexander Mackenzie's Expedition (top / blue)
    Sir Alexander Mackenzie and the Lewis and Clark Expedition
    Lewis and Clark Expedition (bottom / green)

    Lewis and Clark were U.S. Army officers, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set forth on an important expedition to reach the Pacific Northwest in May 1804. Setting out from a camp near St. Louis and traveled up the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains by boats that could be rowed or pulled by horses. The journey to cross the Rockies lasted about a month. Eventually they killed some of their horses out of a need for food. Upon passing the mountains they pushed forward to the Columbia River and made their way down river to the Pacific Ocean by November 1805. The Lewis and Clark expedition was one of the most significant, but last important events in North American exploration and charting the makeup of North American geography.

    Explorers of Significance
    Based on a list from Encyclopedia International ©1966 (Grolier Inc.)
    Nationality and Date
    Aguilar, Martin de Spanish
    Explored coastal California to about 43° N. latitude. With Sebastián Vizcaíno, discovered Monterey Bay.
    Akeley, Carl Ethan American
    Naturalist and master animal sculptor. Akeley led several expeditions to Africa, collecting specimens for museums in America.
    Alarcón, Hernando de Spanish
    Explored the Gulf of California and discovered the Colorado River.
    Albuquerque, Alfonso de Portuguese
    Established the Portuguese Empire in the East. Journeyed (1503) to India. Explored coasts of Madagascar and eastern Africa (1506). Captured Hormuz (1507) and Goa (1510). His capture of Malacca (1511) completed Portuguese control of southeast Asia.
    Alexander the Great Macedonian
    334-323 BC
    King of Macedon. Alexander explored and conquered a vast segment of southwestern Asia. Crossed the Hellespont and conquered a vast amount of of Asia Minor (334 BC). Entered Egypt (332) and the Persian Empire (330). Continued conquest into Afghanistan to the Syr Darya (Jaxartes) river and on the Indus River. Built his own fleet and sailed down the Indus to its delta.
    Almagro, Diego de Spanish
    Conquistador. Was a participant in the first (1524) and second (1526-1528) expeditions of Francisco Pizarro, against Peru. Marched (1535-1536) south through Chile, returning over the Atacama Desert.
    Alvarez, Francisco Portuguese
    Explored Ethiopia and in his later writings provided a descriptive account in detail of the land.
    Andrews, Roy Chapman American
    Naturalist. Explored (1911-1912) northern Korea. Visited (1913) Alaska and (1916) southwest China and the borders of Burma and Tibet. Visited (1919) Mongolia and later, exploring the Gobi Desert. Roy Chapman Andrews' expeditions led to discoveries of several great fossil fields.
    Baker, Sir Samuel White English
    Explored Ethiopia's (1861-1862) Upper Nile River and its tributaries. Discovered Lake Albert on the Belgian Congo-Uganda border. Returned (1869) to Egypt, opening up lake areas to commerce.
    Balboa, Vasco Núñez de Spanish
    Conquistador. Sailed (1501) with Rodrigo de Bastidas to the mouth of the Magdalena River. Sailed (1510) with Martin Fernández de Enciso to Panama. Crossed (1513) the Isthmus of Panama and discovered the Pacific Ocean.
    Baldaya, Affonso Portuguese
    Explored the western coast of Africa to Rio de Oro.
    Baptista, Pedro Portuguese
    First recorded crossing of Africa made of the African continent from Angola, eastward.
    Barth, Heinrich German
    Explored (1845-1847) North Africa and the Levant. Crossed (1849-1855) the Sahara and exploring the kingdom of West Sudan (for British interest).
    Bass, George English
    Discovered Bass Strait which separates Tasmania from Australia and circumnavigation of Tasmania.
    Bastidas, Rodrigo de Spanish
    Conquistador in Colombia. Discovered (1501) with Balboa and Juan de la Cosa the mouths of the Magdalena River. Established (1525) Santa Marta, Colombia.
    Becknell, William American
    Opened the Santa Fe trade route on the Missouri River, between Franklin and Santa Fe.
    Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian English
    Extensive travels in Persia, Palestine, Mesopotamia, Anatolia and Syria. Reaching Hail (1914) in the Arabian Desert.
    Benalcázar or Belalcázar, Sebastián de Spanish
    Service in Darién and Nicaragua. In conquest of Peru (1532) joined Francisco Pizarro. Entry into Ecuador and (1533) founding of Guayaquil. Marching through southwestern Columbia (1535) in search of the fabled El Dorado.
    Bienville, Jean Baptiste Lemoyne, Sieur de French
    Colonization expedition to the mouth of the Missippi River (1698-1699) accompanying Iberville and further exploration ofthe Mississippi northward to the mouth of the Red River. Founding (1718) New Orleans.
    Boccaro, Gaspar Portuguese
    Exploration of the upper Zambezi River to the western coast of Africa.
    Boone, Daniel American
    Exploration of (1767-1771) regions of Kentucky. Traveled (1775) the Wilderness Road and founding Boonesboro on the Kentucky River.
    Bougainville, Louis Antoine de French
    Led first of French expeditionary voyages around the world. Exploring South Pacific islands; Tahiti, Samoa and the New Hebrides
    Brazza, Pierre Paul François Camille Savorgnan de French-Italian
    Exploring (1873-1874) the Gabon in West Africa. Discovery of (1875) affluents of the Congo. Reaching (1880) Stanley Pool on the Congo and founding Brazzaville, later that same year.
    Bridger, James American
    Fur tradesman and guide. Exploring much of the country east of California and north of Spanish New Mexico. Believed to be the first caucasion to visit (1824) the Great Salt Lake region.
    Broughton, William R. English
    Explored Asiatic waters and the coasts of Hokkaido and Korea.
    Bruce, James Scottish
    Journeyed along Red Sea (1768) and reached the Straits of Bab el Mandeb. Exploring Ethiopia and rediscovering (1770) the source of the Blue Nile, which he explored to its confluence with the White Nile.
    Burckhardt, Johann Ludwig Swiss
    Exploring the Nile River and crossing Africa to the Red Sea. Later, exploring in Egypt and Syria extensively. Rediscovered Petra (1812), the ancient rock city of Jordan.
    Burke, Robert O'Hara Irish
    Succeeded in the crossing of of the Australian continent with William Willis from Menindee on the Darling River to the Gulf of Carpentaria. On the return journey, both men perished.
    Burton, Sir Richard Francis English
    Traveling in disguise as Muslim, he journeyed to Mecca and Medina. He led an explorative expedition with John Speke into Somaliland and later, explored (1856) east-central Africa, with Speke and discovered Lake Tanganyika (1858). Without any fellow explorers, he explored Ethiopia and the Bight of Biafra, and visiting the Gold Coast (1881-1882).
    Cabeza de Vaca, Álvar Núñez Spanish
    Traveled to Florida (1528) on expedition commanded by Pánfilo de Narváez. The expedition dissolved. For the following nine years, he explored the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and probably reached California.
    Cabot, John Italian (but for English interests)
    Discovery of North American coast and exploring shorelines of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. The British lay claim to North America based on his discovery.
    Cabot, Sebastian Italian (but for Spanish interests)
    Son of John Cabot. He led expedition to western coast of South America. Exploring extensively of the Rio de la Plata country and along the Paraná River.
    Cabral, Pedro Álvares Portuguese
    Exploring the western coast of Brazil and claiming the land for Portugal then continuing the voyage around Africa to Madagascar, Mozambique and India.
    Cabrillo, Juan Rodriguez Spanish
    Conquistador. He participated in conquest of territory in Mexico and Guatemala. Later, sailing up to the west coast of Mexico and discovering San Diego Bay, exploration of California coastline to the north of San Francisco Bay.
    Cadamosto, Alvise da Italian
    Sailing for Portuguese, Prince Henry the Navigator, exploring the African coast to the Gambia River. Reaching the Cape Verde Islands (1456) but questionable if he actually made any significant contribution to discovery.
    Cadillac, Antoine de La Mothe French
    Arrived in Nova Scotia (1683). Later, exploring the upper Mississippi valley. Founding (1701) Detroit. Appointed Governor (1771) of the Louisiana territory.
    Caesar, Julius Roman
    81-44 BC
    Traveled to Asia (81 BC-74 BC). Made war in Farther Spain (62-60 BC). Waging the Gaelic Wars (58-49 BC), during which he made investigation for invasion of Britain. Traveled in Egypt, Syria, Africa and Spain (49-45 BC). The recorded information contributed vastly to current geographical knowledge.
    Caillié, René French
    Exploring Africa. Journeyed to the Guinea Coast to Fès and Tangier. Believed to be the first caucasion to visit Timbuktu and survive. Traveling in the disguise of being a Muslim tradesman.
    Cam or Cão, Diogo Portuguese
    Discovered mouth of the Congo River while on voyage to Africa. Reaching Cape Negro (1486).
    Cano, Juan Sebastián del Spanish
    First to voyage on a complete global circumnavigation. He sailed (1519) under the command of Magellan, then following Magellan's death in the Philippines took command, arriving in Spain (September 6, 1522) with the Victoria.
    Cárdenas, Garcia López de Spanish
    Member of expedition commanded by Francisco Coronado (1540), exploring the southwest United States and discovering Colorado's Grand Canyon.
    Carpini, Giovanni de Piano Italian
    A Franciscan monk. Traveling to Kiev, crossing the Dnieper and went to the Don and Volga. Reaching Karakorum, Mongolia (1246), as a legate of Pope Innocent IV
    Carson, "Kit" Christopher American
    Joined a caravan bound for Santa Fe (1826). Until 1846 he served as a guide to many overland expeditions into the American Southwest, the region of the Rocky Mountains and California.
    Cartier, Jacques French
    Accomplished three successful voyages to North America (1534; 1535-1536; 1541-1542). He explored the Gulf of St. Lawrence, discovering St. Lawrence River, Prince Edward Island, Magdalen Islands and taking possession of the Gaspé Peninsula for French interests.
    Carver, Jonathan American
    Explored the region of the upper Mississippi River. Searched for the "westward ocean" by crossing overland to Lake Superior and following its coast to the Grand Portage.
    Champlain, Samuel de French
    Voyaged to New France (1603). Exploring and mapped St. Lawrence River to the rapids at Lachine. Exploring the New England coast to Martha's Vineyard (1604-1607). Discovering Lake Champlain (1609) and exploring lakes Huron and Ontario (1615).
    Chardin, Jean (later Sir John) French
    Explored in Persia and India, extensively.
    Charlevoix, Pierre French
    Arrived in New France (1705) and visiting French settlements in North America from Quebec to New Orleans (1720-1722).
    Clapperton, Hugh Scottish
    Explored in Africa from Tripoli to Lake Chad with Dixon Denham (1822-1825). Then exploring with Richard Lander (1825-1827), the lower Niger River.
    Clark, William American
    A leader in the Lewis and Clark Expedition which journeyed across the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.
    Colter, John American
    Joined the Lewis and Clark Expedition to California (1803). Later, serving as a guide (1807) in an expedition led by Manuel Lisa to the mouth of Bighorn River, and later, exploring Wind River Range and Teton Range. Believed to be the first Caucasian who traveled in the region now included as part of the Yellowstone National Park.
    Columbus, Christopher Italian (but sailed in Spanish interest)
    Successfully made four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean to the American continents. Discovered the West Indies (1492) and the Virgin Islands, St. Kitts, Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico (1493-1494). Discovered the mouth of the Orinoco River in Venezuela (1498). During the fourth voyage, Columbus explored Central America to the Gulf of Darien (1502).
    Cook, James English
    Three expeditionary voyages of the Pacific, exploring coasts (1769-1770) of New Zealand and eastern Australia and completing a circumnavigation of the globe (1771). Commanding an expedition to South Pacific (1772-1775) proving the non-existence of continental land reaching north of the Antarctic Circle into the South Pacific. Discovered the Hawaiian Islands during an exploratory voyage (1776-1779) while searching for a passage that joins the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, along the northwest coast of North America.
    Coronado, Francisco Vásquez de Spanish
    Commanding expedition into southwestern United States, crossing Akansas Plains region and journeyed northward into Kansas. Garcia López de Cárdenas who was a member of the expedition discovered the Grand Canyon.
    Cortés, Hernán Spanish
    Led an expedition into Mexico (1518). Completed conquest of Axtec Empire with capture of Tenochtitlán (1521). Extended conquest over much of Mexican territory and into northern Central America.
    Cosa, Juan de la Spanish
    Sailing with Columbus in 1492 as pilot of the Santa Maria and again in 1492. Exploring northern coast of South America, with Alonso de Ojeda (1499-1500).
    Covilhão, Pedro da Potuguese
    Journeyed through Egypt and Arabia. Exploring west coast of India and east coast of Africa south to Zambesi River.
    Cunha, Tristão da Portuguese
    Voyaged to India with 15 ships (1506). Made discovery of several islands (which includes Tristan da Cunha) in the South Atlantic. Capturing Socotra on the Arabian Sea then continuing voyage to India.
    Dampier, William English
    Participation in buccaneering expedition against Spanish America (1679-1681). Engaging in a voyage of piracy along the coast of Africa (1683); crossing the Atlantic and rounding Cape Horn. Exploring west and northwest coasts of Australia (1699-1701); discovering Dampier Archipelago and Dampier Strait. Commanding privateering expedition to the Pacific (1703-1707) and completing voyage around the world (1708-1711).
    Daniel of Kiev Russian
    Exploring the Holy Land and visiting Jaffa, Jerusalem, Jordan and Damascus.
    Darwin, Charles English
    Naturalist. Made extensive exploration during world cruise of the Beagle.
    Denham, Dixon English
    Explored central Sudan and Lake Chad regions in Africa with Huge Clapperton (1822-1825).
    Desideri, Ipolito or Ippolito Italian
    Exploring central Asia reaching Tibetan city of Lhasa from Kashmir.
    De Soto, Hernando or Fernando Spanish
    Serving under Francisco Pizarro in Peru. Led an expedition to the coast of Florida (1538-1539). Exploring through Georgia, Carolinas and Tennessee regions. He continued advance in westward direction (1541) discovering the Mississippi River.
    Dias, Bartholomeu Portuguese
    The first European to round the Cape of Good Hope (1488). Voyage that lead to discovery of Brazil (1500-1501) while accompanying Pedro Alvarez Cabral.
    Diaz, Diniz Portuguese
    Exploring the west coast of Africa to the Cape Verde Islands.
    Doughty, Charles Montagu English
    Explored the Arabian Peninsula.
    Drake, Sir Francis English
    First Englishman to circumnavigate the globe (1577-1580). Commanding a fleet of 25 vessels in voyage of conquest crossing the Atlantic (1585) captured Santo Domingo and Cartagena and rided the Florida coast.
    Du Chaila, Paul Belloni French-American
    Led two expeditions to Africa. Exploring the Gabon country, bringing back the first gorillas to be seen in the United States.
    Duluth, Daniel Greysolon French
    Exploring western Canada and the Lake Superior regions. Founding Fort St. Joseph on the St. Clair River (1686).
    Dupuis, Jean French
    Led an expedition into China. Exploring the Tongking route, opening up the Red River for French trade.
    Eannes, Gil Portuguese
    Sailed for Prince Henry the Navigator, rounding the Cape Bojador in 1434.
    Emin Pasha (original name Eduard Schnitzer) German
    Traveled in Albania and Egypt. Made extensive exploration of central Africa. Was searched for by Sir Henry Stanley and rescued (1888). Later, he returned to the region of Lake Tanganyika where he was murdered.
    Enciso, Martin Fernández de Spanish
    Conquistador. Founding a new colony in Darien on the Isthmus of Panama (1510). The original colony that was established by Diego de Nicuesa failed in 1509.
    Eyre, Edward John English
    Exploring the interior of Australia. Discovering Lake Torrens. Crossing the continent from Spencer Gulf to King George Sound.
    Federmann, Nikolaus German
    Adventurer in Venezuela, Colombia and Bolivia who searched for the fabled El Dorado (1535-1539).
    Fernández de Córdoba, Francisco de Spanish
    Sailed from Cuba during a slave hunt. Made discovery of Yacatán and turned up evidence of Mayan culture.
    Ferrelo, Bartolomé Spanish
    Made a voyage of discovery, accompanying Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, sailing to San Diego Bay and exploring California coast to Cape Mendocino.
    Ferrer, Jayme Catalonian
    Maps from the 14th century suggest he rounded Cape Bojador on the west coast of Africa.
    Fitzpatrick, Thomas American
    Conducting trade expedition up Missouri River (1823). Serving as guide on several significant overland expeditions.
    Flinders, Matthew English
    Captain in Navy and hydrographer. Circumnavigated Australia and Tasmania (1795-1799 and again in 1801-1803). He mapped and charted coastal waters.
    Forrest, John Forrest, 1st Baron Australian
    Led expedition into anterior Australia to search for Friedrich Leichardt who was missing (1869). He crossed the continent by reversing Edward Eyre's route, from Perth to Adelaide.
    Frémont, John Charles American
    Explored the western United States extensively.
    Gama, Vasco de Portuguese
    Discovering a sea route to India via Cape of Good Hope. Voyage that spawned further expansion of the Portuguese Empire (1497-1499). Commanded second voyage of 20 ships to India (1502).
    Gilbert, Sir Humphrey English
    First attempt to establish a colony in North America, failed. His second expedition reached Newfoundland (1583) establishing himself as Governor. He was lost on return trip to England.
    Giles, Ernest English
    Crossing the Australian desert from Port Augusta to Perth and made return trip.
    Gist, Christopher American
    Noted frontiersman descending the Ohio River (1750) exploring Kentucky and crossed to North Carolina. Served with George Washington (1753-1754) on journey to Ohio valley. Serving as a guide to General Edward Braddock on expedition against Fort Duquesne (1755).
    Goes, Bento de Portuguese
    First exploratory overland journey into China following Marco Polo.
    Gómez, Estéban Portuguese
    Commanding voyage to North America and exploring coast from Nova Scotia to Florida.
    Gosnold, Barthlomew English
    Exploring the North American coast from Maine to Narragansett Bay (1602) and discovering Cape Cod. Second voyage brought settlers to Virginia where they founded Jamestown (1606).
    Goyer, Pieter van Dutch
    Traveled through China, reaching Peking via overland route from Canton.
    Gray, Robert American
    First American who circumnavigated the world (1787-1790), exploring northwest coast of the United States; (1792) discovered and sailed the Columbia River.
    Gregory, John Walter English
    Extensive exploration of Tibet.
    Grijalva, Juan de Spanish
    Commanding expedition to Yacatan; exploring coast of Mexico to Veracruz (1518). Participating in conquest of Nicaragua (1523).
    Groseilliers, Medard Chouart, Sieur de French
    Explored the North American upper Mississippi River and Lake Superior Regions, with Pierre Radisson.
    Halévy, Joseph French
    Exploring interior of southwest Arabia.
    Hanno Carthaginian
    500 BC
    Led a fleet of 60 vessels down the west coast of Africa. Explored Guinea coast and may have reached Sierra Leone.
    Hartog, Dirk Dutch
    Commanding voyage of exploration to South Pacific regions and exploring the Australian coast.
    Heceta, Bruno Spanish
    Exploring northwest North America's coastline to 55° N lat. Entering the mouth of the Columbus River and sailing through Nootka Sound.
    Hedin, Sven Anders Swedish
    Extensively traveled in Persia, Turkestan and Tibet. Disocvering sources of the Brahmaputra and the Indus River.
    Hennepin, Louis French
    Sailing with Sieur de La Salle (1679) on first ship to sail the Great Lakes from Fort Frontenac to Green Bay. Exploring the upper Mississippi River from Illinois River to Minnesota.
    Herodotus Greek
    484-425 BC
    Traveled the coastline of Asia Minor to the Black Sea. Visting Mesopotamia, Babylon and Polynesia. Assisted in founding an Athenian colony in Southern Italy.
    Heyerdahl, Thor Norwegian
    Led Kon-Tiki expedition. Drifting on balsa raft from Peru to Polynesia for 101 days.Proved that Peruvian Indians could have made such voyages centuries before.
    Hillary, Sir Edmund Percival New Zealander
    Led several expeditions to explore the Himalayas. With Nepalese mountain climber Tensing Norkay, they became the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest (1953).
    Himilco Carthaginian
    5th Century BC
    Believed to have sailed up of the western coast of Europe and possibly crossing to Britain.
    Hovell, William English
    Led expedition into interior of southeastern Australia, accompanied by Hamilton Hume.
    Huc, Évariste Régis French
    Catholic missionary who traveled through China, Mongolia and Tibet; reaching Lhasa (1846).
    Hudson, Henry English (sailed for Holland)
    Discovered Hudson River (1609) and ascended it to the site of present-day Albany. Hudson's voyage gave the Dutch their claim to the region.
    Hume, Hamilton English
    Exploring the anterior of southeastern Australia.
    Hunt, Wilson Price American
    Pioneering the Snake-Columbia River route to the Pacific which became known as the Oregon trail.
    Huntington, Ellisworth American
    Exploring the upper Euphrates River and Chinese Turkestan.
    Iberville, Pierre Lemoyne Sieur d’ French
    Five expeditions (1686; 1689; 1691; 1694; 1697) against British posts in the Hudson Bay. Capturing St. John's, Newfoundland (1696) and founding Old Biloxi, Mississippi (1699). Exploring the Mississippi River delta.
    Ibn Battuta Arabian
    Traveled and visited every Muslim country from Spain to India. Extensively traveled in Far East, western Africa and Arabia.
    Idrisi, al- Arabian
    Traveling through Europe, Asia Minor and North Africa. Completed a description and map of the known world (1154) compiled from his observations.
    Jenkinson, Anthony English
    Exploring overland from the Caspian region northward to Archangel, Russia.
    Johnson, Martin Elmer and Osa Helen Leighty Johnson American
    Made several expeditions together, to many parts of the African continent, photographing wildlife.
    Jolliet or Joliet, Louis French
    Led expedition to the upper Mississippi River with Father Jacques Marquette, and descended it to the south of the mouth of Arkansas River.
    Kämpfer, Engelbert German
    Journeyed to the Far East exploring and describing Siam and Japan.
    Kennedy, Edmund Australian
    Led expedition to explore course of Victoria River.
    Keyser, Jakob von Dutch
    Journeyed overland from Canton to Peking, China accompanied by Pieter van Goyer.
    Kino or Chini, Eusebio Francisco Spanish
    Arriving as a missionary in New Spain (1681). Exploring Gila and Colorado Rivers. Reaching head of Gulf of California and proving that California is not an island.
    Kropotkin, Pyotr Alekseyevich Russian
    Performed extensive geographical surveys of northern Manchuria.
    Lacerda, Francisco de Portuguese
    Exploring interior Africa to north of the Zambezi River.
    La Harpe, Bernard de French
    Exploring the Red and Arkansas Rivers in southwestern United States.
    Lahontan, Louis de French
    Lef French expedition into region of upper Mississippi River. Circulated an erroneous report of a "long river" leading to the "western sea."
    Laing, Alexander Scottish
    Explored West African coastline and Niger River basin (1824). Journeyed from Tripoli to Timbuktu (1825-1826) but was murdered on the return trip.
    Lander, Richard Lemon English
    Accompanying Hugh Clappeton on African expedition to the lower Niger River (1825). Made two subsequent Niger expeditions.
    La Pérouse, Jean François de Galaup, Comte de French
    In search of the "northwest passage" explored the coasts of northwest North America, Siberia and China. Continuing voyage into the South Seas and discovering La Pérouse Strait (1787). Was lost at sea after sailing from Botany Bay (1788).
    La Salle, René Robert Cavalier, Sieur de French
    Exploring the upper Ohio River (1669). Sailing on the Griffon, the first sailing vessel on the Great Lakes, across the Great Lakes to the head of Lake Michigan (1679). Descending the Mississippi River to its delta (1681-1682). Failure to locate mouth of the Mississippi River from the Gulf of Mexico. He was killed by mutinous crew on the Texas coast.
    Laudonnière, René Goulaine de French
    Sailing on expedition to Florida with Jean Ribault. Attempting a second unsuccessful French effort to establish a permanent colony on coastal South Carolina (1564-1565).
    La Vérendrye, Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, Sieur de French
    Searching for an overland northwest passage to the "western sea" (1727-1728). Exploring regions northwest of Lake Superior (1729-1734). Discovering Lake Manitoba (1739). Led an expedition that may have reached as far west as the Rocky Mountains (1727-1743).
    Leichhardt, Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig German
    Exploring coastline of Australia from Queensland to Arnhem Land. He disappeared in an attempt to cross the continent from east to west.
    Lewis, Meriweather American
    Leader in the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Exploring the Missouri River to its source, crossing the Rocky Mountains and descending the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean.
    Lisa, Manuel American
    Exploring upper Mississippi region and the northern Rocky Mountains. Led expedition to mouth of Bighorn River, with John Colter as guide.
    Livingstone, David Scottish
    Greatest among the African explorers. Crossing the Kalahari Desert and reaching Lake Ngami (1849). Discovering the Zambezi River (1851) and traveling to Luanda (1853). Discovering Victoria Falls (1855) and reaching Portuguese East Africa (1856). Commanding exploratory expedition to Zambesi River region (1857-1863). Exploring upper Congo River tributaries and discovered Lake Nyasa (1859). Reaching the Lualaba tributary of the Congo (1871). Sir Henry Stanley, believing Livingstone was lost found him at Lake Tanganyika (1871).
    Long, Stephen American
    Exploring the plains region between the Platte and Arkansas Rivers.
    Magellan, Ferdinand Portuguese
    Sailing with five ships and 270 men (1519) reaching Rio de la Plata (1520) and discovering, and sailing through, the Strait of Magellan. Crossing the Pacific and reaching the Philippines where Magellan was killed on April 27, 1521. The Victoria was the only remaining ship, and under command of Juan Sebastian del Cano. Cano completed the first circumnavigation of the globe (Sept. 6, 1522).
    Marquette, Jacques French
    Accompanied by Louis Jolliet, discovering and exploring the Mississippi River from the Wisconsin River to the Arkansas (1672-1674). Returned to the Great Lakes region by way of the Illinois-Chicago portage.
    Masudi, al- Arabian
    Geographer and historian. Traveled in Spain, India and Ceylon, China, Russia, Persia, Egypt and Syria.
    Mears, John English
    Exploring coast of Alaska (1786). Established trading post at Nootka Sound and built the Northwest America the first ship launched in British Columbia.
    Mendaña, Álvaro de Spanish
    Commanding voyage to South Pacific and discovering the Solomon Islands (1567). At a later date, he discovered the southern group of the Marquesas Islands (1595).
    Narváez, Pánfilo de Spanish
    Conquistador. Accompanied by Diego Velásquez, participated in conquest of Cuba (1511). Made an unsuccessful attempt to force Hernán Cortés out of Mexico (1520). Sailing from Spain with five ships and 600 men to conquer and settle Florida (1527). He landed but was turned back by Indians (1528).
    Nearchus Macedonian
    325-324 BC
    Commanding fleet built by Alexander the Great on the Indus on voyage up the unknown Persian coast to rejoin Alexander at Susa.
    Nicolet, Jean French
    Searching for the northwest passage via the Great Lakes. Exploring Lake Huron to the Straits of Mackinac, Green Bay and the Fox River.
    Nicuesa, Diego de Spanish
    Failing in attempt to establish a permanent colony at Darien on the Isthmus of Panama.
    Niebuhr, Karsten German (exploring for Denmark)
    Led an expedition to Arabia; exploring Yemen and reached cities of Sana and Mocha. Sailing for India from Mocha and returning by way of the Persian Gulf and Tigris River to Turkey.
    Oderico, Friar or Oderic of Pordernone Italian
    Traveling the Southern Asiatic coast and went to central Asia.
    Ogden, Peter Skene Canadian
    Led expedition from Fort Spokane, Washington to Snake River. Exploring Northern Great Britain. Discovering Humboldt River and exploring shores of the Great Salt Lake.
    Ojeda, Alonso de Spanish
    Conquistador. Sailing with Columbus on the second voyage to America (1493-1494). Briefly joined with Amerigo Vespucci in discovery and exploration of northern coast of South America. Appointed the Governor of Nueva Andalucia which is now northwest Colombia and the Isthmus of Panama (1508).
    Oñate, Juan de Spanish
    Exploring New Mexico and took possession of it in the name of Spain (1598). Led expedition into Oklahoma and Kansas; exploring westward to the Colorado River and south to the Gulf of Mexico (1601).
    Orellana, Francisco de Spanish
    Participating in the conquest of Peru. Crossing the Andes and descending the Amazon River to its mouth.
    Páez, Pedro Spanish
    Jesuit missionary who traveled to Goa, India. Reaching Ethiopia (1603) and visiting the source of the Blue Nile (1613).
    Park, Mungo Scottish
    Exploring the Gambia River. Drowning while attempting to trace the course of the Niger River to its mouth.
    Perez, Juan Spanish
    Exploring northwestern coast of North America from Monterey to 55° N. lat. Discovering Nootka Sound (1774).
    Phoenician Sailors 1200-600 BC Sailing the Meditteranean westward to the edge of the known world as early as 1200 BC. Making voyages of trade along the Iberian Peninsula to Dardanelles. They may have sailed as far west as the British Isles. Reported by Herodotus to have sailed around Africa under orders of King Necho (c. 600 BC). Possibly reaching the East Indies.
    Pigafetta, Antonio Italian
    Accompanied Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastian del Cano, completing voyage following Magellan's death and wrote a famous account of the journey.
    Pike, Zebulon Montgomery American
    Led expedition to map upper Mississippi River (1805). Exploring newly acquired Louisiana Territory (1806-1807). Discovering Pikes Peak.
    Piñeda, Alonso Alvárez de Spanish
    Exploring the Gulf of Mexico. May have discovered the mouth of the Mississippi River.
    Pinto, Fernám Mendes Portuguese
    Extensively traveled and explored India, China and Africa. The First European to land on Japanese soil.
    Pinto, Serpa Portuguese
    Led expedition across Africa from Angola to Mozambique.
    Pinzón, Vicente Yáñez Spanish
    Commanding the Niña on the first expedition of Columbus (1492-1493). Commanding an expedition to Brazil, discovering the mouth of the Amazon River (1499-1500). Exploring the coasts of Yucatán, Honduras and Venezuela (1508-1509).
    Pizarro, Francisco Spanish
    Conquistador. Exploring northwestern South America.
    Pizarro, Gonzalo Spanish
    Conquistador. Half brother of Francisco. Commanding expedition down Napo River to the Amazon (1540-1542).
    Pizarro, Hernando Spanish
    Conquistador. Half brother of Francisco. Assisting in conquest of Peru and fought against Diego de Almagro (1537). Defeated and executing him (1538).
    Pizarro, Juan Spanish
    Conquistador. Half brother of Francisco. Assisting in conquest of Peru and fought with his brothers Gonzalo and Hernando against the Inca Manco Capac during siege of Cuzco (1536-1537).
    Po, Fernando Portuguese
    Exploring the Gulf of Guinea and discovering the island bearing his name.
    Polo, Marco Italian
    Traveling with his father Niccolò Polo and uncle Maffeo Polo to China via central Asia and to the court of Kublai Khan at Kaifeng (1271). Reaching Peking (1275). Traveling in the service of the Khan for the next 17 years throughout central Asia, northern China, India and southeastern Asia. He returned to Europe by sea via Sumatra, Ceylon and Persia.
    Ponce de León, Juan Spanish
    Discovering and exploring the coasts of Florida (1513). Accompanied Columbus on second voyage (1493). Participating in the conquest of Higüey (known today as Dominican Republic), and conquering Puerto Rico (1508). Led second expedition to Florida but was thrwarted by Indians (1521).
    Przhevalsky, Nikolai Mikhailovich Russian
    Exploring central Asia and Mongolia. Crossing the Gobi Desert and entering Tibet. Credited with the discovery of Lop Nor in southeastern Sinkiang Province, China, and of the Astin Tagh range.
    Pumpelly, Raphael American
    Conducting geological surveys in Japan and China (1861-1863). Making first extensive geological survey of the Gobi Desert (1865). Conducting northern transcontinental survey (1881-1884) and making exploration in Turkestan (1903-1904).
    Queiros, Pedro Fernandes de Portuguese
    Sailing an expedition to the Pacific (1595). Discovering northern group of the Marquesas Islands. During later expedition he discovered the New Hebrides islands (1606).
    Quesada, Gonzalo Jiménez de Spanish
    Conquistador. Exploring the Magdalena River in search of El Dorado. Conquering New Granada and founding Bogotá (1538) Led an expedition to the confluence of the Guaviare and Orinoco rivers (1569).
    Radisson, Pierre Esprit French
    Exploring Lake Superior and upper regions of the Mississippi River, accompanied by Médard de Groseilleiers. Believed to possibly be the first caucasions to enter the region.
    Raleigh or Ralegh, Sir Walter English
    Expedited colonies from England under Sir Richard Grenville and Sir Ralph Lane (1585) and under John White (1587), which tragically ended with the "lost colony" of Roanoke Island. Later he led an expedition up the Orinoco River in search of El Dorado.
    Ribault, Jean French
    Sailing from France with 150 colonists and accompanied by René Laudonnièrre (1562). Landing near St. Johns River, Florida. Claiming the region for France. Establshing a colony on the coast of South Carolina but later it was abandoned. The second attempt to establish a permanent colony also met with failure (1564-1565).
    Ricci, Matteo Italian
    Establishing the first Christian missionaries in China.
    Richthofen, Ferdinand, Baron von German
    Participating in German expedition to east Asia (1860-1862). Geographer and geologist who made several exploratory journeys to China and Japan (1867-1872).
    Roggeveen, Jakob Dutch
    Discovered Samoa and visited and named Easter Island during explatory voyage to South Pacific.
    Rubruquis, Guillaume Flemish
    Traveling to Mongolia via southern Russia and Turkestan.
    Schouten, Willem Cornelis Dutch
    Commanding expedition to the Pacfic, rounding Cape Horn (and named for his birthplace, Hoorn). Discovering the Bismarck Archipelago.
    Schweinfurth, Georg August German
    An ethnologist who made extensive exploration in eastern, equatorial Africa and in Arabia. Discovering the Uele River (1870), and on during later travel established the existence of African Pygmies.
    Sevilha or Seville, Diogo de Portuguese
    During an exploratory voyage of the Atlantic, discovering and later may have settled some of the Azores.
    Smith, Jedediah Strong American
    Guidance of a party of 17 men from Missouri to the Rocky Mountains of the famous South Pass. Crossing from the Great Salt Lake and reaching the Colorado River, and continuing across the Mojave Desert to California (1825). Traveled northward to the Columbia River and on to Fort Vancouver. Exploring the Cimmaron River where he was killed by Comanche Indians (1831).
    Smith, John English
    Exploring and mapping much of the area in the vicinity of Jamestown, Virginia (1607), and coastal area of New England (1614).
    Solís, Juan Diaz de Spanish
    Exploring Yucatán, Honduras and Venezuela accompanied by Vicente Yánez Pinzon (1508-1509). On a later voyage he explored the mouth of the Rio de la Plata (1515-1516).
    Speke, John Hanning English
    Joined Sir Richard Burton's expedition to Somaliland (1854). Accompanied by Burton, explored east-central Africa (1856) and discovered Lake Tanganyika (1858). Speke discovered Lake Victoria while exploring alone.
    Stanley, Sir Henry Morton Welsh
    Searched for and found explorer David Livingstone at Lake Tanganyika in Africa (1871). During three subsequent expeditions (1874-1877; 1879-1884; 1887-1889) he explored equatorial Africa, descending the Congo to the Atlantic Ocean, discovering Stanley Pool and Lake Edward, and exploring the Ruwenzori Mountains.
    Stein, Sir Aurel English
    Conducting extensive archaeological exploration in India, Russia, central Asia and western China.
    Strabo Greek
    c.20-c.15 BC
    Traveling extensively through Asia Minor, western Asia and Mediterranean lands. Produced the most complete geography of ancient times.
    Stuart, John McDouall Scottish
    Exploring central Australia accompanied by Charles Sturt (1844-1845). Leading six expeditions (1858-1862) into Australia's interior. Making unsuccessful attempt to cross the continent but succeeded on second attempt (1862).
    Sturt, Charles English
    Commanding expedition to Australia to locate the source of the Macquarie River. Discovering the Darling River and exploring the Muarray River to its mouth (1828). Exploring southern Australia and penetrating through to the center of the continent, with John M. Sturart (1844-1845).
    Tasman, Abel Janszoon Dutch
    Making exploratory voyages to the Pacific and Indian oceans (1632-1653). Discovering Tasmania (named Van Diemen's Land) and New Zealand (1642-1643). Circumnavigating Australia.
    Teleki, Samuel Count Hungarian
    Exploring Africa, discovering lakes Rudolf and Stephanie.
    Thompson, David Canadian
    Surveying the source of the Mississippi River (1797-1798) and crossing the Rocky Mountains to the Columbia River (1807). Later exploring the entire Columbia River system (1811).
    Thomson, Joseph Scottish
    Leading four expeditions to Africa. Reaching Lake Tanganyika (1879). Exploring new areas in Kenya and Uganda (1892-1893) and exploring the Sudan (1885). Traveling to southeast Africa and exploring the Zambesi River.
    Tonti or Tonty, Henri de French
    Accompanied La Salle to Canada (1678). Constructing first sailing vessel Griffon to sail the Great Lakes. Voyaging with La Salle to the mouth of the Mississippi River. Descending the Mississippi again in search of La Salle (1686).
    Torres, Luis Vaez de Spanish
    During exploratory voyage sailed through and perhaps discovered the Torres Strait between New Guinea and Cape York Peninsula.
    Tristam, Nuno Portuguese
    Exploring the west coast of Africa, reaching the Senegal River.
    Ulloa, Francisco de Spanish
    Exploring the Gulf of California, reaching head of Gulf and proving Lower California a peninsula.
    Valdivia, Pedro de Spanish
    Conquistador. Exploring and conquered Chile. Participating with Pizarro in the conquest of Peru. Moving south over the Chilean Atacama Desert and founded Santiago and Valparaiso (1540). Continuing in Chile until 1547, when he returned to Peru. Appointed Governor of Chile (1549). Killed during a revolt of Araucanian Indians under Lautara (1554).
    Vancouver, George English
    Sailing with Captain James Cook on his second and third voyages around the world [(1772-1775) and (1776-1779)]. He later embarked on a voyage to the north-western coast of North America (1792-1794), exploring and mapping Puget Sound and circumnavigating Vancouver Island.
    Varthema, Lodovico or Ludovici di Italian
    Traveling extensively in Arabia, Persia, India and the East Indies.
    Velázquez, Diego Spanish
    Sailing with Columbus on the second voyage (1493-1494) to Hispaniola. He invaded and conquered Cuba with assistance of Pánfilo de Narváez (1511-1514).
    Verrazano, Giovanni da Italian (but sailing for French interest).
    Exploring northeastern coast of North America (1524) in search of the Nortwest Passage. Perhaps the first European to enter New York Bay. Exploring the West Indies where he was attacked and killed by natives (1526).
    Vespucci, Amerigo Italian (but sailing for Spanish and Portuguese interest).
    Accompanying Alonso de Ojeda on voyage to West Indies. Crossing to northern shore of South America; discovering and exploring the mouths of the Amazon River. In service of the Portuguese, exploring the southern coast of South America (1501-1502), possibly to 50° S. lat.; discovering mouth of the Rio de la Plata.
    Vizcaíno, Sebastián Spanish
    Sailing up the coast of California to about 43° N. lat. Discovering Monterey Bay (1602).
    Walker, Joseph American
    Exploring western United States, crossing the Great Basin between the Great Salt Lake and California.
    Warburton, Peter Egerton English
    Crossing western Australia from Alice Springs to to Roeburne by using camels.
    Wilkes, Charles American
    Commanding U.S. naval exploring expedition to the Pacific Ocean. Exploring Fiji and the Hawaiian Islands and the Pacific Northwest to the Juan de Fuca Strait (1840-1841). Completed a circumnavigation of the globe (1842).
    Wills, William English
    Making first crossing of the Australian continent from north to south accompanied by Robert Burke. Both men perished on the return trip.
    Wyeth, Nathaniel Jarvis American
    Led an expedition over the Oregon Trail to the Columbia River (1832-1833). One second expedition founding Fort Hall and Fort William on the Columbia River (1834-1836).
    Xavier, St. Francis Bosque
    Jesuit missionary in Goa (1541). Traveling to west India and exploring coast from Ceylon northward. VIsiting Malacca (1545) and the Moluccas (1546) and introducing Christianity in Japan (1549-1551).
    Young, Ewing American
    Opened up the Spanish Trail, accompanied by Kit Carson, between Santa Fe and Los Angeles.
    Younghusband, Sir Francis Edward English
    Exploring and surveying in Kashmir, central Asia and Tibet. The first European to cross the Muztagh Pass into India. His military expedition opened Tibet to trade with the West (1904).

    See space exploration, undersea exploration.


  • Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language (College Edition) ©1955
  • The American Peoples Encyclopedia ©1960
  • Encyclopedia International ©1966 (Grolier Inc.)
  • The World Book Encyclopedia ©1981
  • Encyclopedia Britannica Micropedia ©1984
  • The American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition ©1985
  • Grolier Encyclopedia of Knowledge ©1991
  • Kingfisher History Encyclopedia ©1999
  • Related Terms

  • explorative
  • exploratory
  • explore
  • explorer
  • Further Reading

  • Explorers A-Z
  • Silk Road History and Explorers
  • Odoric of Pordenone
  • Famous Explorers
  • Explorers Hall of Fame
  • Timeline of Explorers
  • Why is Norway Home to the World’s Greatest Explorers?
  • Britain's Greatest Explorers
  • Explorers from Britain
  • Major European Explorers
  • Also see Pytheas, Alexander the Great, Eric the Red, Leif Ericson, Vikings, Vinland, Crusades, Marco Polo, Henry the Navigator, Bartolomeu Dias, Christopher Columbus, Vasco Da Gama, Amerigo Vespucci, John and Sebastian Cabot, Vasco Núñez de Balboa, Ferdinand Magellan, Hernando Cortés, Francisco Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, Seven Cities of Cibola, Willem Barents, Samuel de Champlain, Jean Nicolet, Louis Jolliet, Jacques Marquette, Sieur de la Salle, Henry Hudson, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, Lewis and Clark Expedition

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