Top 10 Famous Explorers and Expeditions - (2023)


History is filled with brave explorers who tirelessly sought to fill out the edges of our known world. Often these expeditions have taken years of determined wandering into uncharted territory. Here is a list of the top 10 famous explorers who have returned as heroes, whose names echo out in history as the greatest explorers of their time:

10. Roald Amundsen’s Search for the Northwest Passage

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Roald Amundsen was born into a family of Norwegian ship owners. Despite promising his mother that he would become a doctor, he joined the family business after her death. His first expedition was the Belgian Antarctic Expedition of 1897-1899, where he was the first mate to Adrien de Gerlache. The first expedition that Amundsen led was a search for the North West Passage in 1903. The elusive North West Passage had been sought after for many years by many men, starting in 1539 when Hernan Cortez commissioned Francisco Ulloa to sail along the peninsula of Baha, California.

Amundsen began his journey with six crewmen in a 47-ton steel seal hunting ship named Gjoa. They began in Baffin Bay and made their way to Resolute and then to Gjoa Haven, where they were forced to winter but instead stayed a whole year. Next they sailed around the southern coast of Victoria Island and along the northern coast of Canada and Alaska before landing in Eagle City, Alaska. On December 5, 1905, while staying in Eagle City, Amundsen wired a message of success. Forced to spend the winter in Eagle City, they arrived in Nome in 1906, where Amundsen received news that Norway had become independent of Sweden. He sent a message to the new King, Haakon VII, that his success “was a great achievement for Norway.” Amundsen later went on to become the first person to reach the South Pole and the first person to fly over the North Pole.

The Guides

During his time in Gjoa Haven (which he called the finest little harbor in the world) he learned survival skills from the local Nattilik people. He was taught how to use sled dogs and to wear animal skins instead of woolen parkas. Also, during this time he made several observations about magnetics.

9. Hernan Cortes and the Fall of the Aztec Empire

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Hernan Cortes was born in 1485 in Medellin, in what was then the Kingdom of Castile in Spain. He went to the University of Salamanca when he was fourteen but soon grew tired of his studies and returned to Medellin, just as news of Columbus’ discovery was reaching Spain. Cortez left Spain for the New World in 1504 where he planned to be a colonist of the island Hispaniola (a large Caribbean island, now the location of Haiti and the Dominican Republic), he registered as a citizen when they arrived.

Cortes took part in the conquest of Hispaniola and Cuba in 1506 and was rewarded with a large estate and Indian slaves. In 1518 he led an expedition into Mexico. When the governor who sent him on the expedition changed his mind (because of a rivalry between them), Cortes went anyway. He left in February 1519 with 11 ships, 500 men, 13 horses and a handful of canons. When he arrived in the Yucatan Peninsula he burnt his ships, thus committing himself to the conquest. Cortes moved inland to the city Tenochitlan, befriending thousands of Indians who were tired of the Aztec domination of the area along the way. When he reached the city, Cortes was welcomed by the Emperor Montezuma II, who believed that Cortes was the returning god Quetzalcoatl (this eventually led to his imprisonment).

(Video) Top 10 Explorers

The conquest was short lived, and when Cortes heard that a group of Spanish forces from Cuba had come to relieve him of his command, he left Tenochitlan with a captain and rode off to defeat his opposition. When he returned victoriously, the city had revolted and he led his forces away from the city. He returned in 1521 and this time conquered not only the city, but the entire Aztec Empire.

The Guides

When he first landed in Mexico, Cortes met Geronimo de Anguilar, a Spanish priest who had survived a shipwreck and captivity in a Mayan village. It was during his captivity that he learned Mayan and he became a translator for Cortes. After winning a battle at Tabasco, Cortes was given 20 young women, one of which, La Malinche, would become his mistress and bear him a child, Martin. But La Malinche was more than just his lover, she knew both the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs and Mayan, and became his interpreter and counselor.

8. Charles Darwin’s Journey on the HMS Beagle

Charles Darwin was born in 1809. Even before attending school, Darwin was already showing a great interest in natural history and collecting. He later attended the University of Edinburgh Medical School but soon began neglecting his studies to learn taxidermy from John Edmonstone, who had joined Charles Waterton on his journey into the South American rainforest. In his second year of studies he joined the Plinian Society, a student natural history group, where he learned the classification of plants and animals.

When he returned home from his studies he found a letter from John Stevens Henslow (a botany professor and close friend), that proposed Darwin would be a suitable gentleman naturalist to accompany captain Robert FitzRoy to chart the South American coastline on the HMS Beagle. Their journey began on December 27, 1831 and would last almost five years. Darwin spent most of his time in those years on lands investigating geology and making natural history collections. Their route took them from Portsmouth, England; to St. Jago, now called Santiago, Cape Verde; Brazil; Punta Alta in Patagonia; Chile; the Galapagos Islands; the southern coast of Australia; the Cocos (Keeling) Islands; and Cape Town, South Africa.

Darwin encountered thousands of species during the voyage and when he was back home cataloguing his collections, he began to form the basic ideas which later became On the Origin of Species and his Theory of Evolution, which would become his defining work and would secure his place in the history books.

The Guides

Guides did not accompany Darwin on his expedition. However, he was guided by the works of several notable naturalists and geologists. During his time at University, Darwin was influenced by Robert Edmund Grant, William Paley’s Evidences of Christianity, John Stevens Henslow, Alexander von Humbolt’s Personal Narrative and John Herschel. On the voyage itself he studied a volume of Charles Lyell’s Principles of Geology, and while in Capetown he had the opportunity to meet Hercshel.

7. Ferdinand Magellan and the First Circumnavigation of the Earth

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Magellan was born in 1480 in Sabrosa, Portugal. His parents both died when he was ten and young Ferdinand became a page to Queen Leonor. His young adulthood was spent fighting throughout Egypt, India and Malaysia. Despite his service he was not favored by the crown and in 1517, accompanied by cosmographer Ruy Faliero, he offered his services to the Spanish court in Seville.

At the time, the Treaty of Tordesillas had divided the New World: Portugal held Brazil to the East Indies and Spain held western Brazil to the 134ºE meridian. Magellan wanted to test the assumption that the Spice Islands (Molucca Islands) belonged to the Spanish side. King Charles V of Spain endorsed the expedition, so Magellan led five ships from Spain on September 20, 1519. They sailed to Brazil and then down the South American coastline to San Julian, Patagonia where they wintered. While in San Julian, there was an attempted mutiny- one mutinous leader was beheaded, others marooned.

Other guilty crewmembers worked in chains. Afterwards, three of the five shops passed cautiously through the Strait of Magellan. Next, they landed in Guam and then sailed to Cebu in the Philippines, where Magellan decided to fight in a war in an attempt to gain favor with a local ruler. Magellan’s brother-in-law Duarte Barbosa and the commander of one of the ships, Joao Serrao, were killed in battle. Most of the rest of crew became sick and the few survivors were forced to destroy one of the ships. Magellan died in battle during a raid when the ship officers delayed assistance, hoping that he would be killed in battle. Juan Sebastian del Cano, a former mutineer, completed the first circumnavigation of the Earth, reaching Seville on September 8, 1522.

(Video) Top 10 Explorers & Expeditions

The Guides

Magellan’s voyage was unguided as he was the first to make such a journey. He was however accompanied by a crew of 234 men from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and France.

6. The Travels of Marco Polo

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The earliest famous explorer on this list, Marco Polo, inspired many of the other explorers. He was born in Venice around 1254. His father, Niccolo and his uncle Matteo were wealthy merchants who traded with the Middle East. Niccolo was away when Marco was born and the two finally met when he was fifteen. They spent two years together in Venice before the three of them set out for Cathay (what is now China) in 1271. They were sent with letters from Pope Gregory X to Kublai Khan, whom the older Polos had met on their previous trip.

Their journey took them through Armenia, Persia, Afghanistan, over the Pamir mountains, along the Silk Road, through the Taklamaken and Gobi desert, all the way to Cambaluc (Beijing). The journey that took more than three years. Marco Polo spent the next seventeen years at Khan’s court, holding several government positions including Ambassador to Khan and Governor of the City of Yangzhou. He also led missions into areas of China, India and Burma that would not be seen again until the last century. In 1292 he escorted a Mongol princess to her wedding to a Persian King but had to wait as her intended husband had died before they arrived.

Marco joined the army when he returned to Venice and he was captured in 1298. During his imprisonment he met the romance writer Rustichello da Pisa, who helped him write down the tales of his travels. The work was later published as Il Milione (The Million Lies), and soon became one of the most popular books in Medieval Europe. The book later became known as The Travels of Marco Polo.

The Guides

Marco Polo was accompanied by his father and uncle. They had been to Cathay before and had already built up a rapport with the Great Khan. Khan and the members of his court taught him the Mongol language and customs.

5. Stanley’s Search for Livingstone

Dr. David Livingstone was a missionary who had been sent to Africa in 1841. He set out to explore the African interior when the Kolobeng Mission where he had been working, closed. He discovered Victoria Falls and became one of the first westerners to make a transcontinental journey across Africa. He then grudgingly set his sights on finding the source of the Nile, a mystery more than three thousand years old.

His journey took him from Zanzibar, up the Ruvuma River to Lake Malawi and then to Ujiji on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. By the time he reached Ujiji he was practically alone, most of his supplies had been stolen and he had fallen ill. He sent word to Zanzibar for more supplies and continued to Lake Mweru and Lake Bangweulu with slave traders. He found the Lualaba River and, believing it was in fact the source of the Nile, he returned to Ujiji, where he found that his fresh supplies had been stolen. By then rumors of his death had been swirling throughout Europe and America for a few years and caught the attention of a young American journalist by the name of Henry Morton Stanley. Stanley was born John Rowlands in Wales and was orphaned at an early age. He came to America when he was eighteen years old and began working for a trader named Henry Stanley.

When Stanley died, John took his name and joined the Confederate Army. After the Civil War he became a journalist working for the New York Herald. The newspaper funded his expedition to find Livingstone- he began in Zanzibar in 1871. He followed the same route as his predecessor and faced many of the same challenges such as desertion and tropical diseases like malaria and dysentery. Stanley found Livingstone on October 27, 1871 in Ujiji. He was standing in the midst of a group of Arab slave traders and Stanley approached him and uttered the famous greeting “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”

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The Guides

Stanley’s expedition was guided by 200 experienced porters, most of whom deserted the expedition or died of disease along the way. So many porters tried to leave that Stanley began flogging them. Livingstone, on the other hand, had set out with a team consisting of freed slaves, twelve Sepoys and two loyal servants from his previous expeditions. When Livingstone died in 1873 it was these two servants, Chuma and Susi, that brought his body and his journal to the coast so it could be taken back to England.

4. Lewis and Clark and the Expansion into the West

In 1803, the Louisiana Purchase turned America’s attention to the west. The American government had no idea what it had bought from France, so President Thomas Jefferson got Congress to set aside $2,500 for an expedition, just weeks after the transaction was completed. It was to be led by US Army Captain Mariwether Lewis, who selected William Clark as his partner. They left St. Louis in May 1804 with 3 sergeants and 22 soldiers, as well as volunteers, interpreters and Clark’s slave. They began by heading up the Missouri River and wintering at Fort Mandan (now the site of Bismark, North Dakota).

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In the spring they continued to the headwaters of the river and then crossed the Continental Divide before following the Clearwater, Snake and Columbia Rivers west to the Pacific. At the mouth of the Columbia they built Fort Clatsop, which later became Astoria, Oregon. On their return journey, they split into three groups after crossing the Rockies to map more land. They reunited near where the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers converged and continued together to St. Louis. They arrived in St. Louis to a heroes’ welcome on September 23, 1806. Their 28-month journey proved that there was no transcontinental water route and they brought back a treasure trove of information, including maps of their route, descriptions of Plains Indian culture and observations of the environment.

The Guides

Lewis and Clark were guided from Fort Mandan (Bismark) by a young Shoshone Indian woman named Sacagawea. She guided the expedition thousands of miles carrying her infant son, Jean Baptiste on her back. Her knowledge and her relationship with her people were an invaluable addition to their mission.

3. Sir Edmund Hillary and the First Successful Everest Expedition

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Edmund Hillary was born in Auckland, New Zealand on July 20, 1919. He studied mathematics and science at the University of Auckland. He then became a beekeeper with his brother Rex, climbing several peaks during his spare time. When World War II broke out, he joined the Air Force but withdrew his application before it could be considered. Later under conscription he would join the RNZAF as a navigator. In 1953 he set his sights on the world’s highest peak. At the time the route to Everest was closed through Chinese Tibet and the Nepalese government only allowed one expedition per year, so he had to wait for the British attempt in 1953. John Hunt, the leader of the expedition, named two teams for the ascent: Tom Bourdillion would be with Charles Evans and Edmund Hillary would be paired with Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay.

The total expedition included 362 porters, 20 Sherpa guides and 10,000 lbs. of baggage. Bourdillion and Evans were the first pair to attempt to reach the summit- they came within 100m of the apex before turning back because of exhaustion. Hillary and Norgay began their assault two days later on the South Col Route. On May 29, 1953 at 11:30am local time the pair reached the summit with Hillary placing his foot on the summit first. They stopped to take photos of their achievement and buried some sweets and a small cross before making the descent.

The first person to greet them was George Lowe, Hillary’s lifelong friend, who had climbed up to bring them hot soup. Hillary met Lowe with the words “Well, George, we knocked the bastard off.” For their efforts Hillary and expedition leader John Hunt were both knighted and Norgay was awarded the George Medal by Queen Elizabeth II. Hunt was made a life peer in Britain and Hillary was a founding member of the Order of New Zealand.

The Guides

Born into a Sherpa tribe in 1914, Tenzing Norgay proved to be an invaluable member of the 1953 Everest team. This wasn’t his first trip to the top of the world’s largest peak, he had been on six previous expeditions up Everest. Norgay had originally joined the expedition as a Sherpa guide but when he saved Hillary from falling to his death in a crevasse, Hillary began to think of him as the perfect climbing partner for his ascent.

2. Christopher Columbus’ Discovery of the New World

First landing of Columbus on the shores of the New World, at San Salvador, W.I., Oct. 12th 1492

One of the most famousexplorers in the world, Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy in 1451. Columbus grew up helping his father at his cheese stand. In 1470 the family moved to Savona and later that same year he became a seaman in the Portuguese merchant marine. In 1492 Columbus was sponsored by King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I of Spain to try to reach Asia by a westward route. He departed from Palos, Spain on August 3, 1492 with three ships, The Santa Maria, The Nina and The Pinta. He made his way to the Castile owned Canary Islands, where he restocked his ships and continued for five weeks across the Atlantic Ocean. They sighted land at 2am on October 12, 1492.

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When they reached the island Columbus named it San Salvador (they were in the Bahamas although it is not known exactly which island it was). He explored Cuba and Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) where he founded the settlement of La Navidad. During his expedition he encountered Lucayan, Taino and Arawak Indians. When he returned to Spain, he kidnapped 10-25 Indians to bring with him (only seven or eight survived). He arrived in Palos on March 15, 1493 and was named Admiral of the Ocean Sea and Governor General of all the lands he had discovered and would discover in the future. Columbus would make another three journeys to the New World, filling in more and more of what we now call the Caribbean.

The Guides

The land that Columbus discovered was so foreign to the Western world at the time that no one could have possibly guided him to it. However, Columbus wasn’t looking for America, he was looking for Asia. He would have used The Travels of Marco Polo, Pierre d’Ailly’s Imago Mundi, and Ptolemy’s estimation of the circumference of the earth as guides.

1. Neil Armstrong’s First Steps on the Moon

Armstrong was born on August 5, 1930 in Wapakoneta, Ohio. At an early age, he was fascinated by airplanes. On his sixteenth birthday, Armstrong was issued a pilot’s license and he even built a small wind tunnel in his basement where he did experiments on model planes. After two years at Purdue University he was called to active duty with the Navy where he flew 78 combat missions during the Korean War. When he returned from the war he completed his degree in aeronautical engineering.

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He then became a test pilot at the NCAA High Speed Flight Station at Edwards Air Force Base in California. In September 1962, Armstrong became America’s first civilian astronaut and began training in Houston, Texas. He was an alternate command pilot for the Gemini 5 and was command pilot for Gemini 8 in 1966 where he fixed a malfunction that made the vehicle go out of control, landing within 1.1 nautical miles of the intended landing point. He went back to his training and was an alternate for Gemini 11 but he impressed those who would choose the first crew to go to the moon. In January 1969 he was chosen as commander of the Apollo 11 mission that would land on the moon. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at 9:32am on July 16, 1969.

Their successful journey took four days and they landed on the moon on July 20 with the world watching and listening on TV and radio. At 10:56pm Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon, saying “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.” Armstrong and Aldrin spent two hours walking on the moon, deploying a seismograph and wind particle collector and collecting rock and soil samples.

The Guides

Armstrong and the other members of the Apollo 11 team were guided from the ground by a group of hundreds of flight controllers, each of whom responsible for a single operation of the vehicle. They were headed by Flight Director, Gene Kranz, who was also the Flight Director for Gemini 4 and odd-numbered Apollo missions, most notably he was responsible for bringing Apollo 13 home safely.

Did we leave off any famous explorers? Leave a comment and set us straight.

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Who is the most famous explorer of all? ›

Christopher Columbus. Famous Italian explorer and possibly the best-known explorer that ever lived. Known for "discovering" America (1492).

Who is the first explorer in the world? ›

Ferdinand Magellan (1480–1521) was a Portuguese explorer who is credited with masterminding the first expedition to circumnavigate the world.

Who was the first explorer to America? ›

It's an annual holiday that commemorates the day on October 12, 1492, when the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus officially set foot in the Americas, and claimed the land for Spain. It has been a national holiday in the United States since 1937.

Who were the first English explorers? ›

William Weston, a 15th-century merchant from Bristol, was probably the first Englishman to lead an expedition to North America, the voyage taking place most likely in 1499 or 1500.

Do you know any famous explorers? ›

Famous European explorers

included Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, Vasco de Gama, Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, Hernando Cortes, John Cabot and Samuel de Champlain!

What is expedition in history? ›

noun. an excursion, journey, or voyage made for some specific purpose, as of war or exploration. the group of persons, ships, etc., engaged in such an activity: a large expedition of scientists and military personnel.

Who is the most famous adventurer? ›

Bear Grylls is probably the most recognizable face of adventure on the planet. The former 21 SAS soldier was one of the youngest climbers of Mount Everest, despite breaking his back in a free-fall accident only months earlier.

Who are the Indian explorers? ›

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Who discovered land? ›

Explorer Christopher Columbus (1451–1506) is known for his 1492 'discovery' of the New World of the Americas on board his ship Santa Maria.

Who discovered countries? ›

10 greatest explorers ever and their discoveries
  • Ibn Battuta (1304-1369):
  • Xuanzang or Hsuan-tsang (602-664):
  • Marco Polo (1254-1324):
  • Vasco Da Gama (1460-1524):
  • Christopher Columbus (1451-1506):
  • Amerigo Vespucci (1454-1512):
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  • Jeanne Baret (1740-1807):
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Who discovered Asia? ›

1519–?: Leaving Spain with five ships and 270 men in 1519, the Portuguese Ferdinand Magellan is the first to reach Asia from the East. In 1520, he discovers what is now known as the Strait of Magellan. In 1521 he reaches the Marianas and then the island of Homonhon in the Philippines.

Who gave the name America? ›

Waldseemüller named the new lands "America" on his 1507 map in the recognition of Vespucci's understanding that a new continent had been uncovered following Columbus' and subsequent voyages in the late 15th century.

Who discovered Africa? ›

Portuguese explorer Prince Henry, known as the Navigator, was the first European to methodically explore Africa and the oceanic route to the Indies.

Who lived in the US first? ›

In the 1970s, college students in archaeology such as myself learned that the first human beings to arrive in North America had come over a land bridge from Asia and Siberia approximately 13,000 to 13,500 years ago. These people, the first North Americans, were known collectively as Clovis people.

Who is the first woman Traveller? ›

Jeanne Baret (1740-1807)

Baret is recognised as the first woman to circumnavigate the globe – but she had to do it disguised as a man. She joined the world expedition of Admiral Louis-Antoine de Bougainville from 1766 to 1769. The French Navy prohibited women on its ships, but that didn't stop Jeanne.

Who was the first woman to rule a country? ›

The first woman elected president of a country was Vigdís Finnbogadóttir of Iceland, who won the 1980 presidential election as well as three later elections, to become the longest-serving non-hereditary female head of state in history (16 years and 0 days in office).

What is an explorer for kids? ›

Explorers are people who have blazed the trail in going to new places. The Age of Exploration took place between the 15th and 17th centuries. During this time many countries in Europe sent out explorers to discover new lands, find trade routes, seek treasure, and gain territory for their country.

Who was an American explorer? ›

The Explorers of America

The famous exploers included Christopher Columbus, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, Leif Ericson, Sir Francis Drake, Ponce de Leon, Giovanni da Verrazzano, Samuel de Champlain, Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, Sir Walter Raleigh, Jacques Cartier, Henry Hudson, Hernando de Soto and John Cabot.

Who are the French explorers? ›

  • Jacques Cartier 1534-1542.
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  • Médard Chouart Des Groseilliers 1654-1660.
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  • Nicolas Perrot 1665-1689.

Why do people explore? ›

New experiences bring us new knowledge. Exploring our world, or exploring beyond our world creates jobs and technology that make our world better. We might look for new ideas such as new sources of energy to make life better for ourselves and future generations.

Who were the English explorers? ›

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  • Sir Walter Raleigh. Raleigh was a British explorer, poet, historian, and soldier.

Who were the first European explorers? ›

The first Europeans to land on the mainland of North America were the Viking explorer Leif Eriksson and his party. Leif was one of Erik the Red's sons and had accompanied him to Greenland.

Who discovered Europe? ›

Henry the Navigator, prince of Portugal, initiated the first great enterprise of the Age of Discovery—the search for a sea route east by south to Cathay. His motives were mixed.

Do explorers still exist? ›

Whether summiting the world's tallest peaks in record time or discovering species in the depths of Earth's oceans, modern explorers are taking their adventures to new extremes.

Do explorers get paid? ›

The salaries of Explorers in the US range from $16,920 to $92,110 , with a median salary of $36,200 . The middle 60% of Explorers makes $36,200, with the top 80% making $92,110.

What is an explorer Year 2? ›

Explorers: Building and extending experiences

The children will have a more formal learning environment in Year 2 but they will continue to learn through exciting topics so that they remain motivated, enthused and eager learners. Phonics will be taught daily for 30 minutes, to help with reading, writing and spelling.

Who is the most famous adventurer? ›

Bear Grylls is probably the most recognizable face of adventure on the planet. The former 21 SAS soldier was one of the youngest climbers of Mount Everest, despite breaking his back in a free-fall accident only months earlier.

Why is Ernest Shackleton famous? ›

Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton is best known as a polar explorer who was associated with four expeditions exploring Antarctica, particularly the Trans-Antarctic (Endurance) Expedition (1914–16) that he led, which, although unsuccessful, became famous as a tale of remarkable perseverance and survival.

Who is an explorer? ›

Explorers are people who have blazed the trail in going to new places. The Age of Exploration took place between the 15th and 17th centuries. During this time many countries in Europe sent out explorers to discover new lands, find trade routes, seek treasure, and gain territory for their country.

What was Christopher Columbus famous for? ›

Explorer Christopher Columbus (1451–1506) is known for his 1492 'discovery' of the New World of the Americas on board his ship Santa Maria.

Who are the top adventurers in the world? ›

Bold Souls: 12 Most Inspiring Adventurers Of All Time
  • Roald Amundsen. The Norwegian explorer was a prominent figure of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, as he was the first to navigate the Northwest Passage in 1906. ...
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Who is the most adventurous person in India? ›

#1 – Kalpana Chawla.

Who was adventures? ›

WHO WAS? ADVENTURE builds on the popularity of the Who Was biographical book series that teaches kids about a variety of people from famous historical figures like Marco Polo and Joan of Arc to cultural icons such as Alfred Hitchcock and Dolly Parton. The app includes an "Adventure" sequence and an arcade game.

How many dogs were on the Endurance? ›

Endurance Is Locked in by Ice

Endurance had left South Georgia for Antarctica on December 5, 1914, carrying 27 men (plus one stowaway, who became ship's steward), 69 dogs, and a tomcat erroneously dubbed Mrs. Chippy.

How long was Shackleton's journey? ›

2 week journey - 21 months 2 days on arrival at S.G. August 1st 1914 - The Endurance sets sail from London. November 5th 1914 - Arrival at Grytviken whaling station, South Georgia. December 5th 1914 - Set sail for Antarctica, last contact with the outside world for 18 months, last contact with land for 497 days.

Who survived Shackleton expedition? ›

Lionel Greenstreet served in the merchant navy and joined the Endurance just 24 hours before it left Plymouth, England. The original first officer had resigned in order to join the war effort (1st world war). A master Mariner and eventually the last surviving member of the expedition.

Who was the first woman explorer? ›

During 1766 to 1769, Jeanne Baret, a botanist and explorer, became the first ever woman to sail around the world.

Who is the explorer of America? ›

For a long time, most people believed that Christopher Columbus was the first explorer to "discover" America—the first to make a successful round-trip voyage across the Atlantic. But in recent years, as new evidence came to light, our understanding of history has changed.

Who were the first English explorers? ›

William Weston, a 15th-century merchant from Bristol, was probably the first Englishman to lead an expedition to North America, the voyage taking place most likely in 1499 or 1500.

Why Columbus is a hero? ›

Columbus's famed voyage to the New World was celebrated by Italian-Americans, in particular, as a pathway to their own acceptance in America. Christopher Columbus has long been exalted as a heroic figure in American history: the first explorer to establish a European presence in the New World.

Where did Columbus land first? ›

On October 12, 1492, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus made landfall in what is now the Bahamas. Columbus and his ships landed on an island that the native Lucayan people called Guanahani. Columbus renamed it San Salvador.

Why is America called America? ›

America is named after Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer who set forth the then revolutionary concept that the lands that Christopher Columbus sailed to in 1492 were part of a separate continent.


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