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Christopher Columbus claiming America for Spain

Discovery of America and Early Explorations


Major Explorations of the Americas
Explorers in a New Land
Leif EricsonLeif Ericson
is believed to have led the first "white" expedition to America, from Iceland, about 1000.
Francisco Vasquez de CoronadoFrancisco Vásquez de Coronado
led an expedition through the American Southwest and Midwest to search for the fabled kingdoms of Cibola and Quivira in 1540-1542; he was sorely disappointed.
Christopher ColumbusChristopher Columbus
Contrary to some popular accounts, Christopher Columbus did not embark on the voyage that ultimately resulted in his "discovering" America in order to prove that the Earth was round, he set out to find what he believed to be the shortest sea route to the Indies.
Henry HudsonHenry Hudson
discovered the Hudson River, Hudson Bay, and Hudson Strait while attempting to find the Northwest Passage.
Vasco Nunez de BalboaVasco Núñez de Balboa
became the first European to see the Pacific Ocean from its eastern shore in 1513.
Panfilo de NarvaezPánfilo de Narváez
led one of the most disastrous expeditions in American history when he attempted to find wealth in Florida in 1528. Of the 600 men who began the expedition, only four managed to survive, and Narváez was not one of them.
John CabotJohn Cabot
made three voyages to America between 1496 and 1498 that proved the existence of a shorter route across the northern Atlantic Ocean, which in turn laid the groundwork for British land claims in Canada.
Juan Ponce de LeonJuan Ponce de León
became the first European to explore Florida in 1513. Despite not finding much wealth there, he led another expedition to Florida in 1521, but was killed by natives soon after landing.
Pedro Alvares CabralPedro Ãlvares Cabral
is given credit for being the first to reach the coast of Brazil by way of the Atlantic Ocean, in 1500. Whether he sailed to Brazil on purpose or by accident is still a matter of debate, however.
Hernando de SotoHernando de Soto
led the first European expedition to sight the Mississippi River, in 1541.
Jacques CartierJacques Cartier
established France's first claim to, and named, what is now Canada, by way of three expeditions into the Gulf of St. Lawrence and up the St. Lawrence River to what is now Montreal.
Giovanni di VerrazanoGiovanni di Verrazano
explored the eastern coast of North America in 1524 and discovered New York Harbor and Narragansett Bay along the way. The Verrazano Narrows Bridge in New York City is named in his honor.
Gaspar Corte-RealGaspar Corte-Real
made two voyages to America on behalf of Portugal in search of the fabled Northwest Passage, in 1500.
Amerigo VespucciAmerigo Vespucci
made two voyages to America between 1499 and 1502 and is best known for establishing that the lands discovered by Columbus were part of a whole new continent, and for "lending" his name to those lands -- "America."

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