|THE ROBINSON LIBRARY|
Library >> American History
|Discovery of America and Early Explorations|
|Major Explorations of the Americas|
|Explorers in a New Land|
is believed to have led the first "white" expedition to America, from Iceland, about 1000.
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.
|Vasco Núñez de Balboa
became the first European to see the Pacific Ocean from its eastern shore in 1513.
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.
|Pedro Ãlvares Cabral
is given credit for being the first to reach the coast of Brazil by way ofthe Atlantic Ocean, in 1500. Whether he sailed to Brazil on purpose or by accident is still a matter of debate, however.
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.
made two voyages to America on behalf of Portugal in search of the fabled Northwest Passage, in 1500.
|Francisco Vásquez de
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.
discovered the Hudson River, Hudson Bay, and Hudson Strait while attempting to find the Northwest Passage.
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.
|Juan 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.
led the first European expedition to sight the Mississippi River, in 1541.
|Giovanni 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.
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."