A list of 10 of the world’s greatest and most famous explorers.
1. Christopher Columbus (1451 – 1506) An Italian explorer, Columbus made four ground-breaking voyages to the Americas (1st journey was in 1492 to the Bahamas). Sailing in uncharted seas, Columbus greatly extended the knowledge of crossing the Atlantic and paved the way for the Spanish conquest of the Americas.
2. Vasco de Gama ( 1469 – 1524 ) Vasco de Gama was a Portuguese explorer who was the first European to reach India by sea. De Gama made a direct voyage to India – travelling around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa – arriving in Calicut in 1498.
3. Roald Amundsen ( 1872 – 1928 ) Amundsen was a Norwegian explorer and a key figure in the heroic age of Antarctic exploration. His Antarctic expedition of 1910-12 discovered the South Pole. In 1926, he led the first successful expedition to reach the North Pole. He also made the first voyage through the Northwest Passage.
4. Marco Polo (1254 – 1324) Polo was a Venetian traveller and explorer who made ground-breaking journeys to Asia and China. His journeys and writings helped to open up the Far East to Europe and was said to have inspired Christopher Columbus and many other explorers.
5. John Cabot ( 1450 – 1499 ) Cabot was an Italian navigator and explorer. In 1497, he discovered parts of North America (later named Newfoundland) This is widely considered to be the first European discovery of North America since the Viking journeys of the 11th Century.
6. Sir Walter Raleigh (1552 – 1618) Raleigh was an English explorer who made several journeys to the Americas and also led expeditions in search of the legendary ‘El Dorado’. Raleigh was also granted a royal patent to explore Virginia in America.
7. James Cook (1728 – 1779) Cook was a British explorer who made groundbreaking voyages to the Pacific Ocean. He made the first European contact with Eastern coast of Australia and he chartered the islands of the Pacific from New Zealand to Hawaii.
8. David Livingstone ( 1813-1872) Livingstone was a popular Victorian missionary who explored the continent of Africa. He sought to find the source of the Nile and spent years travelling through the inner heart of Africa. He was opposed to slavery and supported commercial trade with Africa.
9. Leif Eriksson (970-1020 ) Eriksson was a Norse explorer who made the first European journey to North America – 500 years before the more celebrated Christopher Columbus. It is believed he was born in Iceland.
10. Sir Francis Drake (1540 – 1597) Drake was an English explorer who made the second successful circumnavigation of the world in 1577-1580. He also fought the Spanish Armada in 1588.
Famous Adventurers – Famous adventurers and explorers, including Christopher Colombus, Marco Polo, Roald Amundsen and Neil Armstrong.
Famous Scientists – Famous scientists from Aristotle and Archimedes to Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin. Including mathematicians, biologists, physicists and chemists.
Military figures – Famous military leaders and soldiers
Entrepreneurs – Famous entrepreneurs who have set up and created successful businesses, including Henry Ford, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.