History Lists: Explorers Not Named Columbus

History Lists: Explorers Not Named Columbus


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3. Harriet Chalmers Adams

Harriet Chalmers Adams, widely regarded as her time’s foremost female explorer, never went to school – she just read a lot, and had a burning need to see things for herself. This led her to ride horseback over the routes of Columbus and the other Spanish conquistadors, write extensively for the National Geographic society, found and preside over her own Society of Women Geographers, and serve as a World War I correspondent for Harper’s in 1916 (she was the only woman allowed in the trenches). Over her 50-year career, she left footsteps over some hundred thousand miles of the world, and was only given pause by confusion over why other women didn’t follow her:

“I’ve wondered why men have so absolutely monopolized the field of exploration. Why did women never go to the Arctic, try for one pole or the other, or invade Africa, Thibet, or unknown wildernesses? I’ve never found my sex a hinderment never faced a difficulty which a woman, as well as a man, could not surmount never felt a fear of danger never lacked courage to protect myself. I’ve been in tight places and have seen harrowing things.”

It’s lucky for us that none of that stopped her nearly a century later, her articles and photographs remain gripping and educational.


Travel through time with 21 women explorers who changed the world

In the fourth century, a Christian pilgrim by the name of Egeria set off from the Mediterranean to reach the Holy Land, using the Bible as her guidebook. &ldquoThese mountains are ascended with infinite toil,&rdquo she writes about her intrepid climb up Mount Sinai, in detailed letters sometimes called history&rsquos first travel memoir. Her insights reveal a cultural sensitivity that transcends time: At each stop she took care to inquire about local customs and traditions.

In the fourth century, a Christian pilgrim by the name of Egeria set off from the Mediterranean to reach the Holy Land, using the Bible as her guidebook. &ldquoThese mountains are ascended with infinite toil,&rdquo she writes about her intrepid climb up Mount Sinai, in detailed letters sometimes called history&rsquos first travel memoir. Her insights reveal a cultural sensitivity that transcends time: At each stop she took care to inquire about local customs and traditions.

Icelandic sagas immortalize the Viking wife and mother Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir as &ldquoa woman of striking appearance and wise as well, who knew how to behave among strangers.&rdquo By many accounts the most traveled woman of the Middle Ages, the hardy &ldquofar traveler&rdquo is said to have crisscrossed the North Atlantic several times between Greenland and Iceland. She also sailed to North America&mdashfive centuries before Christopher Columbus&mdashand to Rome on a religious pilgrimage.

Icelandic sagas immortalize the Viking wife and mother Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir as &ldquoa woman of striking appearance and wise as well, who knew how to behave among strangers.&rdquo By many accounts the most traveled woman of the Middle Ages, the hardy &ldquofar traveler&rdquo is said to have crisscrossed the North Atlantic several times between Greenland and Iceland. She also sailed to North America&mdashfive centuries before Christopher Columbus&mdashand to Rome on a religious pilgrimage.

First female circumnavigator

First female circumnavigator

Two centuries after Ferdinand Magellan sailed around the world, a French &ldquoherb woman&rdquo disguised as a man became the first female to circumnavigate the globe. With her chest wrapped in bandages, Jeanne Baret conspired with her lover&mdasha renowned botanist&mdashto earn a spot on a 1766 expedition. The ruse was up two years later (the couple remained in Mauritius when the boat sailed), but Baret’s feat came full circle upon her eventual return to France in the early 1770s.

Two centuries after Ferdinand Magellan sailed around the world, a French &ldquoherb woman&rdquo disguised as a man became the first female to circumnavigate the globe. With her chest wrapped in bandages, Jeanne Baret conspired with her lover&mdasha renowned botanist&mdashto earn a spot on a 1766 expedition. The ruse was up two years later (the couple remained in Mauritius when the boat sailed), but Baret’s feat came full circle upon her eventual return to France in the early 1770s.

Groundbreaking global healer

Groundbreaking global healer

Although Mary Seacole earned fame as a &ldquoblack Florence Nightingale,&rdquo the British-Jamaican nurse considered travel the ultimate antidote for the limiting Victorian era. Her witty autobiography, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands, recounts her exploits tending to cholera victims in Panama and at the front lines ofthe Crimean War. &ldquoAs I grew into womanhood,&dquo she writes, &ldquoI began to indulge that longing to travel which will never leave me while I have health and vigour.&rdquo

Although Mary Seacole earned fame as a &ldquoblack Florence Nightingale,&rdquo the British-Jamaican nurse considered travel the ultimate antidote for the limiting Victorian era. Her witty autobiography, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands, recounts her exploits tending to cholera victims in Panama and at the front lines ofthe Crimean War. &ldquoAs I grew into womanhood,&rdquo she writes, &ldquoI began to indulge that longing to travel which will never leave me while I have health and vigour.&rdquo

First female fellow of Royal Geographical Society

First female fellow of Royal Geographical Society

Some people live to travel Isabella Bird traveled to live. On doctor&rsquos orders, the chronically ill Englishwoman set off for North America on her debut adventure in 1854. The open air suited her well-being as much as travel stirred her soul. The first woman elected to be a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, she went on to climb volcanoes, ride horseback through the wilderness, and commune with locals, chronicling her voyages in books about Hawaii, Tibet, Colorado’s Estes Park, Korea, Morocco, Vietnam, and beyond.

Some people live to travel Isabella Bird traveled to live. On doctor&rsquos orders, the chronically ill Englishwoman set off for North America on her debut adventure in 1854. The open air suited her well-being as much as travel stirred her soul. The first woman elected to be a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, she went on to climb volcanoes, ride horseback through the wilderness, and commune with locals, chronicling her voyages in books about Hawaii, Tibet, Colorado’s Estes Park, Korea, Morocco, Vietnam, and beyond.

First woman on National Geographic&rsquos board

First woman on National Geographic&rsquos board

The first woman elected to the National Geographic board (and to have a photo published in the magazine), Eliza Scidmore likened her travel appetite to &ldquooriginal sin.&rdquo Among the pioneering tourists to cruise through Glacier Bay, she penned Alaska&rsquos first guidebook, in 1885. Yet the renowned &ldquolady writer&rdquo did more than plant the seeds of wanderlust in her readers: Her idea to bring cherry trees to Washington, D.C., blossomed into a rite of passage for spring travelers the world over.

The first woman elected to the National Geographic board (and to have a photo published in the magazine), Eliza Scidmore likened her travel appetite to &ldquooriginal sin.&rdquo Among the pioneering tourists to cruise through Glacier Bay, she penned Alaska&rsquos first guidebook, in 1885. Yet the renowned &ldquolady writer&rdquo did more than plant the seeds of wanderlust in her readers: Her idea to bring cherry trees to Washington, D.C., blossomed into a rite of passage for spring travelers the world over.

Around the world in 72 days

Around the world in 72 days

In the action movie that was her life, Nellie Bly always did her own stunts&mdashnone more spectacular than her breathless voyage around the world in 1889. Moving by train, steamship, horse, donkey, and rickshaw, the 25-year-old journalist traversed 24,899 miles in 72 days. She detoured in France to meet her muse Jules Verne, visited a Chinese leper colony, and acquired a pet monkey in Singapore&mdashall with only a small satchel and a single dress.

In the action movie that was her life, Nellie Bly always did her own stunts&mdashnone more spectacular than her breathless voyage around the world in 1889. Moving by train, steamship, horse, donkey, and rickshaw, the 25-year-old journalist traversed 24,899 miles in 72 days. She detoured in France to meet her muse Jules Verne, visited a Chinese leper colony, and acquired a pet monkey in Singapore&mdashall with only a small satchel and a single dress.

Englishwoman Gertrude Bell traded upper-class comfort for desert forays by camel. A cohort of T. E. Lawrence&mdashbut with a better mastery of the Arabic language&mdashshe embedded herself in local life as she roved the sands of the Middle East, from Persia to Syria. Arabia&rsquos &ldquouncrowned queen&rdquo helped draw the borders of modern Iraq, advised on the writing of its constitution, and established the Iraq National Museum. Bell also scaled the Alps and preserved antiquities on archaeological digs.

Englishwoman Gertrude Bell traded upper-class comfort for desert forays by camel. A cohort of T. E. Lawrence&mdashbut with a better mastery of the Arabic language&mdashshe embedded herself in local life as she roved the sands of the Middle East, from Persia to Syria. Arabia&rsquos &ldquouncrowned queen&rdquo helped draw the borders of modern Iraq, advised on the writing of its constitution, and established the Iraq National Museum. Bell also scaled the Alps and preserved antiquities on archaeological digs.

Founded the Society of Women Geographers

Founded the Society of Women Geographers

Neither vampire bats nor avalanches could stop Harriet Chalmers Adams from venturing deep into South America in 1904. She and her husband covered some 40,000 miles in three years, crossing the Andes by horseback, wandering the Amazon alongside jaguars, and canoeing in snake-tangled waters. Exclusion from the men-only Explorers Club did not faze her in 1925 Adams became the inaugural president of the Society of Woman Geographers.

Neither vampire bats nor avalanches could stop Harriet Chalmers Adams from venturing deep into South America in 1904. She and her husband covered some 40,000 miles in three years, crossing the Andes by horseback, wandering the Amazon alongside jaguars, and canoeing in snake-tangled waters. Exclusion from the men-only Explorers Club did not faze her in 1925 Adams became the inaugural president of the Society of Woman Geographers.

Before Thelma and Louise took to the open road, there was Gussie and Addie, aka Augusta Van Buren and her sister, Adeline. In 1916 the socialites with a rebellious streak crossed the continental United States on motorcycles&mdashroaring across dirt trails, cow passes, and roads pocked with mud holes as they traversed some 5,500 miles in 60 long days of heat and rain. Augusta went on to join Amelia Earhart’s Ninety-Nines group of women pilots.

Before Thelma and Louise took to the open road, there was Gussie and Addie, aka Augusta Van Buren and her sister, Adeline. In 1916 the socialites with a rebellious streak crossed the continental United States on motorcycles&mdashroaring across dirt trails, cow passes, and roads pocked with mud holes as they traversed some 5,500 miles in 60 long days of heat and rain. Augusta went on to join Amelia Earhart’s Ninety-Nines group of women pilots.

Louise Boyd took her vast inheritance from the California gold rush and put it on ice. The heroine of the high seas led and financed several scientific expeditions into the Arctic wilds, helped document Greenland&rsquos fjords and glaciers, completed covert missions for the U.S. government, and was one of the first women to soar over the North Pole in an airplane. &ldquoFar north, hidden behind grim barriers of pack ice, are lands that hold one spell-bound,&rdquo she wrote in 1935.

Louise Boyd took her vast inheritance from the California gold rush and put it on ice. The heroine of the high seas led and financed several scientific expeditions into the Arctic wilds, helped document Greenland&rsquos fjords and glaciers, completed covert missions for the U.S. government, and was one of the first women to soar over the North Pole in an airplane. &ldquoFar north, hidden behind grim barriers of pack ice, are lands that hold one spell-bound,&rdquo she wrote in 1935.

In 1955, 67-year-old Emma Gatewood emerged from the Appalachian Trail as the first woman to hike all 2,050 miles in one season by herself. Emboldened by an article in National Geographic, she was nicknamed the &ldquohiking grandma&rdquo&mdashin fact, the mother of 11 was a great-grandma&mdashand went on to conquer the trail two more times as well as the 2,000-mile Oregon Trail. Her marching orders to &ldquopick up your feet&rdquo have motivated countless walkers since.

In 1955, 67-year-old Emma Gatewood emerged from the Appalachian Trail as the first woman to hike all 2,050 miles in one season by herself. Emboldened by an article in National Geographic, she was nicknamed the &ldquohiking grandma&rdquo&mdashin fact, the mother of 11 was a great-grandma&mdashand went on to conquer the trail two more times as well as the 2,000-mile Oregon Trail. Her marching orders to &ldquopick up your feet&rdquo have motivated countless walkers since.

First African-American woman pilot

First African-American woman pilot

Bessie Coleman rose above the prejudices of her era. In 1921 she soared into history as the world&rsquos first African-American woman pilot. Born the daughter of a maid and a sharecropper, the manicurist turned aviatrix learned to fly in France after being rejected by American flight schools. For five years she traveled the U.S., performing heart-stopping stunts in the sky&mdashat her insistence, only at venues with desegregated crowds&mdashuntil a fatal plane crash.

Bessie Coleman rose above the prejudices of her era. In 1921 she soared into history as the world&rsquos first African-American woman pilot. Born the daughter of a maid and a sharecropper, the manicurist turned aviatrix learned to fly in France after being rejected by American flight schools. For five years she traveled the U.S., performing heart-stopping stunts in the sky&mdashat her insistence, only at venues with desegregated crowds&mdashuntil a fatal plane crash.

Perusing a map was said to fill Freya Stark with &ldquoa certain madness,&rdquo which provoked fearless explorations of the remote deserts of the Middle East, chronicled in more than 20 books beginning with 1932&rsquos Baghdad Sketches. Her preferred mode of transport was on the back of a donkey or camel, and although measles, dysentery, dengue fever, and other illnesses took their toll, her boundless spirit of adventure&mdashand ready smile&mdashalways persevered. &ldquoCuriosity,&rdquo Stark writes, &ldquois the one thing invincible in nature.&rdquo

Perusing a map was said to fill Freya Stark with &ldquoa certain madness,&rdquo which provoked fearless explorations of the remote deserts of the Middle East, chronicled in more than 20 books beginning with 1932&rsquos Baghdad Sketches. Her preferred mode of transport was on the back of a donkey or camel, and although measles, dysentery, dengue fever, and other illnesses took their toll, her boundless spirit of adventure&mdashand ready smile&mdashalways persevered. &ldquoCuriosity,&rdquo Stark writes, &ldquois the one thing invincible in nature.&rdquo

&ldquoWorld&rsquos most widely traveled girl&rdquo

&ldquoWorld&rsquos most widely traveled girl&rdquo

In 1922, 16-year-old Idris Galcia Hall pursued her fantasies to &ldquosleep with the winds of heaven blowing round her head&rdquo when she answered an ad to join a world tour. She became known as Aloha Wanderwell and was promoted as the &ldquoworld&rsquos most widely traveled girl,&rdquo eventually driving across six continents in a Ford Model T.

In 1922, 16-year-old Idris Galcia Hall pursued her fantasies to &ldquosleep with the winds of heaven blowing round her head&rdquo when she answered an ad to join a world tour. She became known as Aloha Wanderwell and was promoted as the &ldquoworld&rsquos most widely traveled girl,&rdquo eventually driving across six continents in a Ford Model T.

Pursuing a life &ldquoalmost explosive in its excitement,&rdquo journalist Martha Gellhorn took in the &ldquoview from the ground&rdquo in 53 countries&mdashBarcelona during the Spanish Civil War, China by sampan and horse, and the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. Describing herself as &ldquopermanently dislocated,&rdquo the glam vagabond based herself for a stint in Cuba as the third wife of Ernest Hemingway, who appears in her 1978 book, Travels With Myself and Another.

Pursuing a life &ldquoalmost explosive in its excitement,&rdquo journalist Martha Gellhorn took in the &ldquoview from the ground&rdquo in 53 countries&mdashBarcelona during the Spanish Civil War, China by sampan and horse, and the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. Describing herself as &ldquopermanently dislocated,&rdquo the glam vagabond based herself for a stint in Cuba as the third wife of Ernest Hemingway, who appears in her 1978 book, Travels With Myself and Another.

Prolific Welsh writer Jan Morris lived the first half of her life as James Morris, posted to Palestine in 1946 as an intelligence officer and scrambling down Mount Everest to break the news of its first successful summit in 1953. After transitioning to female in 1972 (a different kind of journey), Morris began writing about places in earnest, revealing an unparalleled knack for evocative city portraits. Her 40-plus books span Venice to Hong Kong, the U.S. to the Arab world.

Welsh author Jan Morris lived the first half of her life as James Morris, posted to Palestine in 1946 as an intelligence officer and scrambling down Mount Everest to break the news of its first successful summit in 1953. After transitioning to female in 1972 (a different kind of journey), Morris began writing about places in earnest, revealing an unparalleled knack for evocative city portraits. Her 40-plus books span Venice to Hong Kong, the U.S. to the Arab world.

Dervla Murphy wrote the book on traveling at full tilt&mdashliterally. The Irishwoman&rsquos 1965 memoir, Full Tilt, chronicled her solo bicycle trip from her home to India, by way of Yugoslavia, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Subsequent books revolve around similarly voracious voyages through challenging landscapes, including a three-month slog with a mule in the Ethiopian highlands and a 1,300-mile trek through the high Peruvian Andes with her nine-year-old daughter. The familiar thread in all her exploits: Embrace the unpredictable.

Dervla Murphy wrote the book on traveling at full tilt&mdashliterally. The Irishwoman&rsquos 1965 memoir, Full Tilt, chronicled her solo bicycle trip from her home to India, by way of Yugoslavia, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Subsequent books revolve around similarly voracious voyages through challenging landscapes, including a three-month slog with a mule in the Ethiopian highlands and a 1,300-mile trek through the high Peruvian Andes with her nine-year-old daughter. The familiar thread in all her exploits: Embrace the unpredictable.

San Mao, whose real name was Chen Mao Ping, launched her bold career as Taiwan&rsquos &ldquowandering writer&rdquo and translator with her 1976 travelogue Stories of the Sahara. (An example of her lyrical prose: &ldquoEvery time I thought of you, a grain of sand fell from the sky. Thus the Sahara Desert formed.&rdquo) The polyglot bohemian flitted among Germany, Spain, northwest Africa, Central and South America, and the Canary Islands, spending much of her life as an expat and inspiring generations of devoted readers and travelers.

San Mao, whose real name was Chen Mao Ping, launched her bold career as Taiwan&rsquos &ldquowandering writer&rdquo and translator with her 1976 travelogue Stories of the Sahara. (An example of her lyrical prose: &ldquoEvery time I thought of you, a grain of sand fell from the sky. Thus the Sahara Desert formed.&rdquo) The polyglot bohemian flitted among Germany, Spain, northwest Africa, Central and South America, and the Canary Islands, spending much of her life as an expat and inspiring generations of devoted readers and travelers.

No traveler is an island&mdashat least not if globetrotter Evita Robinson gets her way. The three-time expat founded Nomadness Travel Tribe, an online community designed for millennial travelers of color. Whether shark diving in Cape Town or teaching English in Japan, the 20,000-plus members of Nomadness&mdashmostly African-American women&mdashhave emerged as a force in the not-always-inclusive travel industry. &ldquoWe are here, and we are relevant,&rdquo said Robinson in her 2017 TED Talk about Black travel.

No traveler is an island&mdashat least not if globetrotter Evita Robinson gets her way. The three-time expat founded Nomadness Travel Tribe, an online community designed for millennial travelers of color. Whether shark diving in Cape Town or teaching English in Japan, the 20,000-plus members of Nomadness&mdashmostly African-American women&mdashhave emerged as a force in the not-always-inclusive travel industry. &ldquoWe are here, and we are relevant,&rdquo said Robinson in her 2017 TED Talk about Black travel.

National Geographic Young Explorer

National Geographic Young Explorer

National Geographic Young Explorer Erika S. Bergman brings unprecedented depth to her travels&mdashwhether she&rsquos scaling the hazy rainforest canopy in Costa Rica or deploying underwater robots in the icy Arctic. The deep-sea submarine pilot is most at home probing uncharted waters. &ldquoAnyone can be an adventurer,&rdquo she writes. Her network of engineering camps and girls&rsquo mentorship programs, Global Engineering & Exploration Counselors, puts that mantra into action.

Erika S. Bergman brings unprecedented depth to her National Geographic travels&mdashwhether she&rsquos scaling the hazy rainforest canopy in Costa Rica or deploying underwater robots in the icy Arctic. The deep-sea submarine pilot is most at home probing uncharted waters. &ldquoAnyone can be an adventurer,&rdquo she writes. Her network of engineering camps and girls&rsquo mentorship programs, Global Engineering & Exploration Counselors, puts that mantra into action.


Black explorers we should celebrate instead of Columbus

There was a time when Christopher Columbus was heavily pushed and accepted as the greatest explorer of this side of the globe.

Never mind the little detail of how one could “discover” a place where people already live.

But because Europeans long ago staked claim as the dominant voice, especially of the so-called “New World,” their version of events has endured.

As with every other position in the world, African peoples were explorers as well. Here are a few we should all know:

Abubakari II (also Abu Bakari, Abu Bakr II and Mansa Musa II)

Western scholars have, by and large, dismissed the assertion that Africans had contact with the Americas long before Columbus. But scholars such as Ivan Van Sertima and Cheikh Anta Diop rejected this in the books They Came Before Columbus (1976) and The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality (1974). But they were not alone. Decades before, respected Harvard lecturer Leo Wiener, a Russian-born scholar of Polish-Jewish heritage who was a polyglot skilled in more than 20 languages, noted the African presence in his 1920 book Africa and the Discovery of America.

Around 2000, Malian historian Gaoussou Diawara, author of Abubakari II, available in French, along with other African researchers, began to explore the history of Abubakari, who once ruled the Mali Empire in West Africa, and to proclaim him the main force behind the African arrival to the Americas prior to Columbus.

Abubakari is said to be the son of Kolonkan, sister of Sundiata Keita (also Sundjata Keita and Soundjata Keita), the founding emperor of the great Mali Empire in West Africa. In 1311, Abubakari abdicated his throne to Mansa Musa to pursue his belief that the Atlantic Ocean, similar to the River Niger, had another bank. Already during his rule, Abubakari had funded a 200-boat expedition to find the bank.

When only one ship returned, with the captain reporting that a current swept the rest of the fleet away, prompting him to turn back, Abubakari put together a 2000-boat expedition he himself helmed. It is believed that Abubakari, who never returned home, landed at what is now Recife in Brazil and that some of the previous boats landed throughout the Americas, including what is now Mexico and even in Colorado. This is why Wiener and others before and after him note early remnants of African culture in the Americas, some of which Columbus found upon his arrival.

The Niño Brothers — Pedro Alonso (also Peralonso Niño), Francisco and Juan

Described as “El Negro,” navigator and explorer Pedro Alonso Niño, son of a white Spaniard and enslaved African woman, has long been acknowledged for accompanying Columbus on his first expedition to the Americas in 1492 as the pilot of the Santa Maria. Although Pedro is one of the most well-known of Columbus’s crew, he was not alone — his brothers Francisco (youngest) and Juan (oldest) were also part of Columbus’s voyages.

In their home of Moguer, Spain, they were prominent sailors with experience on Atlantic voyages. Reportedly, Pedro even sailed the West African coast. During the first Columbus voyage, Juan helmed La Niña, which he also owned. Francisco was most likely a sailor on La Niña.

The brothers also took part in Columbus’s second voyage in which it is well-documented that Pedro was with Columbus when he “discovered” Trinidad. In fact, sons of Pedro and Juan are believed to have participated in Columbus’s voyages as well. Enterprising Pedro set out on his own expedition, in search of riches in the Americas Columbus had not ventured through. Although he successfully returned to Spain, he was accused of cheating the King of 20 percent of the treasure and arrested. He died in prison before he could go to trial. Francisco died in Honduras. It is not widely known where Juan died.

Born in Africa, Juan Garrido was enslaved in Portugal but began his career in exploration in Seville, Spain, probably as a slave. Around 1502 or 1503, he landed in Santo Domingo. Later, Garrido was elevated to the status of conquistador and was with Ponce de Leon during his search for the Fountain of Youth in Florida in 1513. Garrido was also part of the Hernán (also Hernando) Cortés-led invasion of Mexico in 1519, which resulted in the conquest of the Aztecs.

Later, he participated in expeditions to Michoacán in Mexico in the 1520s and traveled to islands around San Juan and Cuba as well. Garrido, who married and fathered three children, settled in Mexico City. To secure land that, based on his service, should have automatically been his, he provided testimony of his exploits of his 30 years as a conquistador, without pay, in 1538. Today, he is also credited with harvesting the first commercial wheat crop in the Americas.

By most accounts, Esteban was sold into slavery around 1513 in the Portuguese-controlled Azemmour on Morocco’s Atlantic coast at around age 10 to 13 and brought to Spain, where he became the servant of Andrés Dorantes de Carranza. With Dorantes, Esteban, who is labeled a Moor by most historians, traveled to Cuba to join the Pánfilo de Narváez expedition to conquer Florida for Spain. Although raised a Muslim, Esteban converted to Catholicism, which was also a requirement to participate in Spanish expeditions to the Americas. From Cuba, the expedition of roughly 600 Spanish, Portuguese and African troops arrived in Tampa Bay in 1528.

Most of the soldiers perished, however. Eventually, a hurricane displaced Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Alonso del Castillo Maldonado, Dorantes and Esteban around Galveston, Texas. Reportedly captured by native peoples for five years before becoming free , the four-man crew walked for four years through New Mexico, Arizona and Northern Mexico all the way to Mexico City. Later, in 1536, Esteban explored northern Mexico with Cabeza de Vaca. Around 1539, he was part of an expedition led by Friar Marcos de Niza that scouted terrain for Francisco Coronado’s search for “Seven Cities of Gold.” Reportedly, Esteban was killed by the Zuni tribe near the border of Arizona and New Mexico, but his body was never recovered.


List of explorers

The following is a list of explorers. Their common names, countries of origin (modern and former), centuries when they were active and main areas of exploration are listed below.

Bartolomeu Dias is known as the first European to sail around the southernmost tip of Africa, finding the eastern sea route to the Indian Ocean (1488).

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

John Cabot was an Italian navigator who was the first European that sailed along to North American coast since the Norse 500 years prior (1497).

Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci made several trips to the New World. He is known for convincing the Europeans that the New World is not Asia, but an entirely new unknown continent. This new continent was soon named after him, America (1497–1504).

The great conqueror Afonso de Albuquerque raided, captured, and conquered many coastal cities in Asia for the Portuguese Empire. He is also one of the first Europeans to sail to the East Indies and Spice Islands, along with Francisco Serrão and António de Abreu (1503–15).

Vasco Núñez de Balboa is known for having crossed the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean, becoming the first European to reach and see the Pacific from the America's (1513).

Juan Sebastián Elcano took command after Ferdinand's death and completed the voyage, becoming the first person to circumnavigate the earth (1521–22).

English privateer Francis Drake plundered many Spanish towns and ships in the Caribbean and elsewhere. However, he is most notable for completing the second circumnavigation of the world (1577–80).

Samuel de Champlain is known as "The Father of New France". He founded the first permanent European settlements in Canada, and explored many lakes and rivers in the interior lands from early age to his death (1603–35).

English explorer Henry Hudson explored what is now New York and northeastern Canada. Today he has both a river and bay named after him (1609–11).

James Cook. Famous British explorer who led three voyages to the Pacific. He is known for exploring and charting many islands in the ocean such as Polynesia, New Zealand, The Hawaiian Islands, and the eastern coast of Australia (1768–79).

Roald Amundsen was an explorer of the polar regions. He was the first person to reach the South Pole, and eventually also reached the North Pole by air (1910–26).

Why Is Christopher Columbus So Important?

Christopher Columbus was an explorer credited with discovering the New World on an expedition in 1492. Although he did not actually discover America, his expedition did kick off centuries of exploration, conquest and colonization.

For many generations, Columbus was credited with discovering the land people now know as America. However, because millions of people already lived in the lands making up North America and South America, many historians claimed that it was not possible for him to "discover" the land. He did discover the land that the Europeans did not know existed, thus opening it up for further exploration and colonization by European countries.

Early Travels and Voyages Columbus embarked on many voyages in the Mediterranean region beginning as a teenager. He also took many expeditions to Africa. In his time at sea, he heard tales of all of the riches available in China, India and the rest of Asia. It was an attractive destination for many Europeans, including Columbus. Unfortunately, land routes were becoming increasingly difficult to navigate due to hostile armies in the way. Many voyagers began traveling to Asia from Europe by sea in a route that went around the continent of Africa.

Columbus' First Voyage Columbus devised a plan to shorten the trip to Asia from Europe by traveling West across the Atlantic Ocean rather than around Africa. By his estimates, it would only be 2,300 miles from the Canary Islands to Japan. In reality, the distance is more than 12,000 miles. He presented this faster and safer route to monarchs in Portugal and England in hopes of securing a benefactor to finance his voyage. He was declined by both. In 1491, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain agreed to his plan in hopes of finding fame and fortune and spreading Catholicism to Asia. They agreed to give Columbus 10 percent of the riches he found.

Setting Sail In 1492, Columbus set off with his three ships Ì¢‰â‰۝ Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria Ì¢‰â‰۝ across the Atlantic Ocean. A few months after setting sail, he landed in the Caribbean islands. He sailed around the islands for several months looking for riches and not finding much. He left behind several men and one ship before returning to Spain to show what he found.

Subsequent Voyages Between 1492 and 1504, Columbus made four separate voyages to the New World. Although Columbus did not find the material riches he was looking for, he did find another commodity worth of trade: slaves. Unfortunately, Queen Isabella was horrified by his gift of 500 slaves and would not accept them. Columbus was known for treating the natives in the Americas and the Caribbean horribly. By the end of his expeditions, he was arrested and stripped of his titles due to his brutal treatment of the native people and the conditions of his settlements.

Age of Exploration Although Columbus did not discover the Americas and was brutal to the people already living there, he is still an important figure in history. His voyages kicked off centuries of European exploration in the New World. Had he not landed in the Caribbean by mistake, perhaps English, French, Spanish and other European explorers would not have sent out explorers of their own.


History Lists: Explorers Not Named Columbus - HISTORY

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Juan Ponce de Leon: Explorer
Juan Ponce de Leon (1460?-1521) was a Spanish explorer and soldier who was the first European to set foot in Florida. He also established the oldest European settlement in Puerto Rico and discovered the Gulf Stream (a current in the Atlantic Ocean). Ponce de Leon was searching for the legendary fountain of youth and other riches.

Born in Santervas, Spain, in 1460 (the date is uncertain), Ponce de Leon was a soldier fighting Muslims in southern Spain in the early 1490's. Ponce de Leon sailed on Christopher Columbus' second expedition to the Americas in 1493. Ponce de Leon did not return to Spain with Columbus he stayed in Santo Domingo (now called the Dominican Republic).

He was appointed governor of the Dominican province of Higuey. He later heard of gold in the neighboring island of Borinquen (now called Puerto Rico) and brutally conquered the island, claiming it for Spain. He was then appointed governor of this island. Due to his extreme brutality to Native Americans, he was removed from office in 1511.

Ponce de Leon was then given the right to find and take the island of Bimini (in the Bahamas) he was searching for riches and the fountain of youth (a legendary spring that gave people eternal life and health). He sailed from Puerto Rico on March 3, 1513, with three ships, the Santa Maria, the Santiago, and the San Cristobal, and about 200 men. After stops at Grand Turk Island and San Salvador, they reached the east coast of Florida (St. Augustine) in April 1513. Ponce de Leon named the land "Pascua de Florida" (feast of flowers) because they first spotted land on April 2, 1513, Palm Sunday. He then claimed the land for Spain.

They left on April 8, heading south in the warm current now known as the Gulf Stream. This oceanic current would become very important for Spanish trips from Europe to America. On the return trip, a fight broke out between Ponce de Leon's men and Native Americans in southern Florida. They sailed to Cuba, then headed north, again trying to find Bimini (but instead, finding Andros Island).

After returning to Puerto Rico, Ponce de Leon resumed fighting with the Native Americans (putting down their rebellions against Spanish rule). He returned to Spain and was named a Captain General by the King of Spain on September 27, 1514, and again sailed to Puerto Rico to search for the elusive Bimini.

His last expedition was another search for Bimini in 1521. His force of 200 men landed on the west coast of Florida, but were met by Native American warriors, who wounded many of the men with arrows, including Ponce de Leon. Ponce de Leon later died in Havana, Cuba, from this wound (in July, 1521). He is buried in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


10 Portuguese explorers who changed the world

by VxMag

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T here was a time when the Portuguese dominated the seas and set out to discover and conquer new worlds. The Portuguese explorers were responsible for discovering more than 70% of the world previously unknown to Europeans. Many of these discoveries were not made official because Portugal was too small to be able to dominate, colonize and defend all territories against the other European powers. Territories such as Greenland, Newfoundland and Australia were discovered by the Portuguese and colonized by other peoples. Even small islands or archipelagos were left to abandon after discovered, such as the Maldives or Vanuatu. These are some of the most famous Portuguese explorers.

1. Vasco da Gama

Vasco da Gama

Vasco da Gama was born in Sines in 1468/69, and died in Cochin, India on December 24, 1524. The third of six brothers, son of Stephen of the Gama – governor of Sines – and Isabel Sodré and grandson of a homonym Vasco da Gama, judge in Elvas. He was a Portuguese navigator and explorer during the Age of Discovery, distinguished by his work as commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India. At the end of his life he was, for a short time, governor of Portuguese India with the title of Viceroy.

2. Pedro Álvares Cabral

Pedro Álvares Cabral

A few months after Vasco da Gama arrived from India, and according to the information he had given the Portuguese king, a new armada was prepared with orders to wage war if necessary, in addition to establishing commercial relations in the region. Pedro Álvares Cabral commanded thirteen ships with about 1200 men. Purposely or due to a storm, the navy made a greater deviation to the west and to the 22 of April of 1500 was sighted terra firma. Pedro Álvares Cabral ordered the return to Portugal of a ship with the famous “Carta de Pero Vaz de Caminha a El-Rei D. Manuel I”, reporting the discovery of the Land of Vera Cruz (later called Brazil). This discovery and control of the Brazilian coastline will become critical to maintaining the safety of shipping to India. Brazil is integrated into the empire without a definite plan, which did not prevent D. Manuel from ordering its economic exploitation and consequent colonization.

3. Ferdinand Magellan

Ferdinand Magellan

In search of fame and fortune, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan (c. 1480-1521) set out from Spain in 1519 with a fleet of five ships to discover a western sea route to the Spice Islands. En route he discovered what is now known as the Strait of Magellan and became the first European to cross the Pacific Ocean. The voyage was long and dangerous, and only one ship returned home three years later. Although it was laden with valuable spices from the East, only 18 of the fleet’s original crew of 270 returned with the ship. Magellan himself was killed in battle on the voyage, but his ambitious expedition proved that the globe could be circled by sea and that the world was much larger than had previously been imagined.

4. Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus

It has always been up for debate weather Christopher Columbus’s nationality was Spanish or Portuguese, but nowadays historians are inclining more and more towards Italian. He lived in Portugal for quite a while, and therefore is included in our list. Between 1492 and 1503, he managed to complete four voyages, all of them starting off the coast of Spain and towards the North and South America. His endeavors were founded by the Crown of Castile. He famously discovered North America in 1492, whilst being convinced that he had actually reached the shores of India. Columbus’s voyages notably mark the onset of European exploration of the world, but also of its colonization.

5. Diogo Cão

Diogo Cão

Diogo Cão was a Portuguese navigator of the fifteenth century who was possibly born in the Parish of Sá, in the municipality of Monção, or in the region of Vila Real, or even in Évora, at an unknown date, since only the royal family made concrete records of the date of birth and death. Squire and later Knight of the House of the Infante D. Henrique, realized in the reign of D. John II two trips of discovery of the coast southwest African, between 1482 and 1486. After several problems he continued to the point of the Farilhões (Serra Parda), at 22º 10′, south latitude, where he returned to Zaire, who went up to visit the Congo King with whom he established his first relations, leaving an inscription confirming his arrival at the falls of Ielala, near Matadi. Arriving at the mouth of the Zaire River, Diogo Cão thought he had reached the southernmost point of the African continent (Cape of Good Hope), which was actually bent by Bartolomeu Dias shortly thereafter, and which he initially called Cape Storm. In 1485 it arrived at the Cape of the Cross (present Namibia). He introduced the use of stone patterns, instead of wooden crosses, to mark the Portuguese presence in the discovered areas.

6. Diogo Silves

Azores old map

Portuguese navigator of the XV century, was born in Silves, Algarve, and rendered services to the Infante D. Henrique, as pilot, in the time of the Discoveries. It is thought that it was thanks to a deviation that occurred during a habitual trip in the Atlantic Ocean that this sailor discovered the Azorean islands of the central and eastern groups in 1427. The first island to be sighted and contributed was that of Santa Maria. The feat of Diogo de Silves is known thanks to the allusion made to him by Gabriel de Valsequa, a Catalan cartographer, in 1439.

7. Bartolomeu Dias

Bartolomeu Dias

Bartolomeu Dias, a Portuguese of Jewish origins born in 1450, won his place in the history of Portugal and the World because he was the first European to sail beyond the southern tip of the European continent. The Portuguese navigator, in the service of Dom Joao II, King of Portugal, was able to “double” Cape Storm, a place that would henceforth be known as Cape of Good Hope in a clear allusion to the fact that this the starting point for reaching the Indian Ocean from the Atlantic Ocean and all the economic and expansionary possibilities that this had at the time. Bartolomeu Dias was entrusted with this important mission above all because he was a man of a level of training who guaranteed to the Portuguese monarch a very large percentage of possible success.

8. Gaspar and Miguel Corte Real

Labrador map

The Corte Real brothers were members of a noble Portuguese family. Gaspar was apparently the more aggressive of the two. In 1499 he learned of a grant from King Manoel I to a fellow Portuguese, John Fernandes, to undertake an expedition into the North Atlantic. Manoel sought to establish Portuguese control over a Northwest Passage to India and the Spice Islands. He also wanted someone who would establish Portugal’s claims to any new lands that might be discovered in this area. Fernandes did not immediately make use of his grant from the King. Gaspar seized the opportunity to obtain royal permission to undertake his own exploratory expedition in May 1500. Gaspar Corte Real left Lisbon in the summer of 1500 in a fleet of three ships, financed by his family. He sailed first to Greenland and spent several months exploring its shoreline. During this time he contacted the natives, whom he compared to the wild natives of Brazil. His ships stayed in Greenland’s waters until the winter icebergs forced them to leave. Gaspar and his ships returned to Portugal in late 1500. The following year Gaspar organized another expedition, this time in conjunction with his brother Miguel. Their expedition departed in May 1501, again bound for unknown lands to the northwest. When they reached land after about 5 weeks, they found themselves on the shores of Labrador. They explored south along the coast, charting approximately 600 miles of shore.

9. João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira

João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira

João Gonçalves Zarco (1390 – 1471) was a Portuguese explorer who established settlements and recognition of the Madeira Islands, and was appointed first captain of Funchal by Henry the Navigator. Zarco was born in Portugal, and became a knight at the service of Prince Henry the Navigator’s household. In his service at an early age, Zarco commanded the caravels guarding the coast of Algarve from the incursions of the Moors, was at the conquest of Ceuta, and later led the caravels that recognized the island of Porto Santo in 1418 to 1419 and afterward, the island of Madeira 1419 to 1420. Tristão Vaz Teixeira (1395 –1480) was a Portuguese navigator and explorer who, together with João Gonçalves Zarco and Bartolomeu Perestrelo, was the official discoverer and one of the first settlers of the archipelago of Madeira (1419–1420). Tristão was a nobleman of Prince Henry the Navigator’s House, taking part in the conquest of Ceuta. Around 1418, while exploring the coast of Africa, he and João Gonçalves Zarco were taken off course by bad weather, and came upon an island which they called Porto Santo (Holy Harbor). Shortly after, they were ordered by Prince Henry to settle the island, together with Bartolomeu Perestrelo. Following a rabbit outbreak that made it difficult to grow crops, they moved to the nearby island of Madeira

10. Duarte Pacheco Pereira

Duarte Pacheco Pereira

Duarte Pacheco Pereira (1460 – 1533), called the Portuguese Achilles (Aquiles Lusitano) by the poet Camões, was a Portuguese sea captain, soldier, explorer and cartographer. He travelled particularly in the central Atlantic Ocean west of the Cape Verde islands, along the coast of West Africa and to India. His accomplishments in strategic warfare, exploration, mathematics and astronomy were of an exceptional level. It has also been suggested that Duarte Pacheco Pereira may have discovered the coasts of Maranhão, Pará and Marajó island and the mouth of the Amazon River in 1498, preceding the possible landings of the expeditions of Amerigo Vespucci in 1499, of Vicente Yáñez Pinzon in January 1500, and of Diego de Lepe in February 1500 and the Cabral`s expedition in April 1500, making him the first known European explorer of present-day Brazil. This claim is based on interpretations of the cipher manuscript Esmeraldo de Situ Orbis, written by Duarte Pacheco Pereira.


But what about America itself?

Why aren’t the continents of North and South America called “Columbusia” after Christopher Columbus? The word America comes from a lesser-known navigator and explorer, Amerigo Vespucci. Who made the decision? A cartographer.

Like Columbus, Vespucci traveled to the New World (first in 1499 and again in 1502). Unlike Columbus, Vespucci wrote about it. Vespucci’s accounts of his travels were published between 1502 and 1504 and were widely read in Europe. Columbus was also hindered because he thought he had discovered another route to Asia he didn’t realize America was a whole new continent. Vespucci, however, realized that America was not contiguous with Asia. He was also the first to call it the New World, or Novus Mundus in Latin.

With the discovery of this “New World,” maps were being redrawn all the time. No one really knew what land was where or how big it was. Because of this confusion, maps from the 1500s are incredibly inaccurate and contradictory. (They also often feature drawings of mythical sea creatures.)


A Successful Journey

Roald Amundsen was the first to make the journey through the Passage entirely by ship.

The expeditions led by Franklin and McClure were examples of the British tradition of exploration with expensive ships that were well-funded with supplies and modern technologies. In contrast, a Norwegian explorer named Roald Amundsen set sail with a small crew of six on a small and shallow-draft vessel called the Gjøa. He was escaping creditors who were seeking to stop the expedition.

As Amundsen’s expedition travelled past Baffin Island, they harboured off King William Island to take shelter from the winter. They spent two winters (1903-04 and 1904-05) in what is now a community called Gjøa Haven. They learned from the local Netsilik Inuit people how to survive in the Arctic.

The ship Gjøa (frammuseum.no)

Leaving Gjøa Haven, they continued to sail west past Cambridge Bay and Victoria Island until they finally emerged out of the Canadian Arctic islands in August 1905. They decided to winter here before they made the final journey back to Norway.

Norway had recently gained independence from Sweden and had a new king, so Roald was excited to inform him of their success. Roald skied 800 km to Eagle City, Alaska. He used a telegraph station to send the news home, before heading 800 km back to his crew.

It wasn’t until 1942 that Henry Larsen, a Canadian RCMP officer, became the second to sail the entire passage. Larsen first traveled west to east on a two-year expedition departing from Vancouver in 1940 and arriving in Halifax in 1942. In 1944, his return trip set the record for traversing the route in a single season. The ship had undergone extensive upgrades and followed a more northerly route that was partially uncharted at the time.


Watch the video: Service. Watermark Columbus