The Robinson Library >> Geography

History of Discoveries, Explorations, and Travel


Explorations and Discoveries by Sea
Vitus BeringVitus Bering
commanded two voyages into the waters between northern Asia and North America, proving that the two continents are not linked by land and charting much of the southern coast of Alaska along the way.
Vasco da GamaVasco da Gama
commanded the first expedition to reach India by sea from Europe, in 1498.
James CookJames Cook
was the first European to land on New Zealand, the first ship commander to prevent an outbreak of scurvy during an extended voyage, sailed further south than any previous navigator, and "discovered" the Hawaiian Islands.
Henry the NavigatorHenry the Navigator
Prince Henry of Portugal sponsored numerous voyages along the western coast of Africa. One of those voyages became the first ever to sail beyond Cape Bojador, and another the first to sail up the Gambia River.
William DampierWilliam Dampier
circumnavigated the world three times as a privateer. Two of those voyages ended in financial failure, however, and he died before being able to enjoy his share of the third voyage's bounty. He also made one of the first scientific voyages to Australia and New Guinea.
John LedyardJohn Ledyard
wrote the first great travel story by an American to be published in the United States. In 1786-1788 he walked alone from Germany to eastern Siberia. He died soon after getting permission to undertake an expedition to explore the source of the Niger River in Africa.
Bartolomeu DiasBartolomeu Dias
led the first expedition to round the southern tip of Africa by sea in 1487. In 1500 he was part of a sea expedition that inadvertently discovered and named Brazil.
Ferdinand MagellanFerdinand Magellan
led the expedition that ultimately became the first to sail completely around the world, but did not live to see the achievement accomplished.
John FranklinJohn Franklin
was part of Matthew Flinders' 1801-1803 exploratory voyage to Australia and of David Buchan’s 1818 unsuccessful search for the Northwest Passage. He subsequently led two major expeditions across Arctic Canada. In 1845 he embarked on a voyage through the Northwest Passage, but that voyage ended in disaster.
Abel TasmanAbel Janszoon Tasman
was the first known European explorer to reach Tasmania and New Zealand and to sight Fiji. He also charted the north coast of Australia, as well as many South Pacific islands.
Martin FrobisherMartin Frobisher
led three expeditions from England to America. The first sought a Northwest Passage, but failed. The other two were carried out with hopes of finding great quantities of gold ore, but those hopes were not realized. He did, however, enjoy great success as a privateer and naval commander.

The Robinson Library >> Geography