Explorers and Adventurers Throughout Our History

0999-04-01 00:00:00

Leif Erikson, according popular theory, make landfall in Vinland (North America)

After getting blown off course en route to Greenland, a popular finding is that Leif and his crew reach land in what is now called Newfoundland.

1269-10-10 00:00:00

Marco Polo sets off on the "Silk Road"

Marco polo was especially important to the history of exploration due to his documentation of his time on the "Silk Road". His writings would help set forth an explosion of exploration, mapping, and trade, particularly between Europe and Asia.

1331-05-01 00:00:00

Ibn Battuta makes it all the way down to present day Zanzibar on the Africa's eastern coastline

Throughout his travels, Ibn Battuta made his mark on the world covering an astonishing distance, and opening a large swath of early trade route.

1417-05-14 00:00:00

Zheng He's 4th mission takes him all the way to the Persian Gulf

His expeditions are largely responsible for the expansion of trade between Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the far East.

1418-08-01 00:00:00

Prince Henry the Navigator starts a school of cartographers and navigators

Prince Henry did lead some expeditions himself, but his lasting legacy can really be credited to the school he helped create in order to promote the exploration of the coast of Africa.

1497-06-26 02:04:16

Vasco da Gama reaches India from Europe by water

Vasco da Gama arrives in India from Europe, from a water route. He returned to Europe a hero, and changed the course of European and World exploration forever.

1501-05-14 00:00:00

Amerigo Vespucci discovers the tip of Brazil.

Map makers would soon name this land "America" after him, and within just a few decades, this name would also be applied to North America

1510-05-01 00:00:00

Vasco Nunez Balboa establishes first permanent European settlement in the Americas

Balboa and his expedition would be the first Europeans to see the Pacific Ocean from the Americas. He traversed the Isthmus of Panama through the jungle with his men.

1519-08-01 00:00:00

Hernan Cortes begins his conquest of Mexico

With eyes on obtaining more gold than Europe had ever seen, Cortes became the most infamous of conquistadors with his overthrow of Montezuma and the Aztecs

1519-10-10 00:00:00

Ferdinand Magellan

In 1519, Magellan and his crew set off to find a route to the spice islands. He is credited with being the first to circumnavigate the globe (though he did not actually survive the voyage)

1527-05-01 00:00:00

Estevanico Dorantes became one of the first African born men to reach the soil of present day U.S.

Despite arriving as a slave, he can be credited with being a ground breaking explorer in his own right. On one expedition he was one of 4 survivors from a crew of 300 men. He is likely one of the first explorers from the continents of Europe or Africa to see the Grand Canyon.

1528-03-12 12:37:37

Francisco Pizarro makes contact, and eventually dismantles the Incan empire

Pizarro had originally been a member of Balboa's expedition in Panama 20 years earlier.

1532-11-22 19:55:54

Hernando Pizarro joins his brother in conquering the Inca

1539-05-01 00:00:00

Hernando de Soto is considered to be the first European to explore the interior of what is now Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and perhaps even Arkansas

He is also the first documented European to cross the Mississippi.

1540-04-05 00:00:00

Francisco Vazquez Coronado leads an expedition to explore the interior of what would later be known as Mexico, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Kansas

He was looking for the "lost 7 cities of gold".

1577-04-01 00:00:00

Sir Francis Drake becomes the first explorer to lead an expedition from beginning to end circumnavigating the globe

During his life he was a successful privateer, mapmaker, and infamous early slave trader. His defeat of the Spanish Armada paved the way for England to enter the world stage as a reputable navy.

1607-11-22 19:55:54

John Smith helps settle Jamestown

John Smith and a group of settlers arrive in what would be named "Jamestown"; the first permanent English settlement in the Americas

1766-09-01 00:00:00

Jeanne Baret, though disguised as a man, becomes the first woman to circumnavigate the globe

She spent much of her life of expedition, disguised as a man. She risked her personal safety, while possessing an understanding that she would likely not receive credit in the history books for her part in the expeditions.

1775-05-14 00:00:00

Daniel Boone blazes a trail through the Cumberland Gap

This opens the door to westward expansion for settlers.

1804-05-14 00:00:00

William Clark and Meriwether Lewis journey from St. Louis to the Pacific

With the help of Sacagawea, Lewis and Clark made their way to the Pacific by foot and by canoe.

1804-11-04 16:02:47

Sacagawea joined the expedition of Lewis and Clark, and was vital to the success of this famed journey

She did not go by choice, and cared for her baby along the way. She exhibited amazing grace and bravery including rescuing the expedition from peril on multiple occasions.

1810-09-01 00:00:00

Lady Hester Stanhope leaves Europe for the last time, making Syria her new home

Despite coming from tremendous family wealth, Stanhope travelled extensively through the middle east, highlighting the region to wealthy Europeans who had long dismissed it as culturally irrelevant.

1874-06-27 00:00:00

Annie Londonderry sets out to become the first person to "bike across the world"

Londonderry arrived back in Chicago in September of 1875

1887-06-01 16:02:47

Isabelle Eberhardt made her mark as an adventurer and journalist at the turn of the 20th century

Despite living a comfortable life provided by a wealthy family, Eberhardt left a life of luxury to travel throughout the middle east. Her writings about her experiences would help open the western world's eyes to this region.

1889-11-14 22:08:29

Nellie Bly begins her journey around the world

She attempted to beat the time of 80 days, set in the fictional novel "Around the World in 80 Days". She succeeded and made it in 72.

1891-09-01 00:00:00

Isabella Bird is officially elected to the British Royal Geological Society

Throughout her long life, Bird became a worldwide name for her travels and documentation of wildlife.

1911-12-14 00:00:00

Roald Amundsen reaches the South Pole

By 1926 Amundsen becomes (undisputed) the first expedition leader to have reached both poles.

1912-06-16 00:00:00

Osa Johnson, along with her husband Martin, travelled extensively making films along the way

Her films, spanning over two decades, influenced a European and American obsession with the South Seas, especially during a time when film making was beginning to really take off.

1919-01-13 00:00:00

Gertrude Bell travels extensively throughout the middle east, contributing significantly to the world of cartography and archeology

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1922-08-01 00:00:00

Bessie Coleman becomes the first African American woman to earn a pilot's license

She taught herself how to speak French in order to go to flight school in France, where she would be allowed to learn to fly.

1932-05-20 16:02:47

Amelia Earhart embarks on her successful transatlantic flight

Her plane would mysteriously vanish in 1937, but she left a major legacy in the world of aviation.

1953-05-29 00:00:00

Edmund Hillery and Tenzing Norgay become the first to summit Mt. Everest

While British adventurer Hillery received most of the early attention and accolades, "sherpa" Norgay was every bit as inportant to the success of the climb.

1963-06-16 00:00:00

Valentina Tereshkova orbits the Earth 48 times in 3 days

Tereshkova has made a substantial impact on space exploration and is considered a superstar in Russia. She has influenced astronauts of all nationalities for the decades following her missions.

1978-05-08 00:00:00

Reinhold Messner first to summit Mount Everest without the use of oxygen

Over the course of his life, Messner accomplished a number of amazing firsts, including trekking across Antarctica without use of snowmobile or dogsled.

Explorers and Adventurers Throughout Our History

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