FAMOUS EXPLORERS

For centuries, European explorers sailed vast oceans to find new lands. Learn all about major European explorers in these articles.

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Pytheas

Pytheas, (fourth century B.C.), a Greek navigator and explorer. He was a native of the Greek colony of Massalia (Marseille, France).

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  • James Cook
    James Cook

    Cook, James (1728 - 1779), a British navigator. Captain Cook accurately charted vast regions of the South Pacific; provided a basis for England's claim to Australia and New Zealand; and developed a diet that prevented scurvy among seamen. See more »

  • Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca
    Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca

    Cabeza de Vaca, Alvar Nunez (1490 - 1557), a Spanish explorer. He was a leader in the expedition of Panfilo de Narvaez to Florida in 1528. See more »

  • Ferdinand Magellan
    Ferdinand Magellan

    Magellan, Ferdinand (Portuguese: Fernao de Magalhaes)(1480? - 1521), a Portuguese navigator. See more »

  • Juan Diaz de Solis
    Juan Diaz de Solis

    Solíis, Juan Di­az de (1470 - 1516), a Spanish navigator and explorer. After many years of exploration in Latin America, Solíis succeeded Amerigo Vespucci as chief pilot of Spain in 1512. See more »

  • Abel Tasman
    Abel Tasman

    Tasman, Abel Janszoon (1603 - 1659), a Dutch navigator. Exploring the Pacific Ocean for the Dutch East India Company, he discovered Tasmania (which he named Van Diemen's Land) and New Zealand in 1642. See more »

  • Amerigo Vespucci
    Amerigo Vespucci

    Vespucci, Amerigo, (Latinized form: Americus Vespucius, ) (1451 - 1512), the Italian navigator for whom the continents of the Western Hemisphere are named. See more »

  • Bartholomeu Dias
    Bartholomeu Dias

    Dias (or Diaz), Bartholomeu(1450 - 1500), a Portuguese explorer. He discovered the Cape of Good Hope, near the southern tip of the African continent. See more »

  • Challenger Expedition
    Challenger Expedition

    Challenger Expedition, an exploring trip made in 1872 - 76 to study the ocean bottom and undersea life. See more »

  • Eric the Red
    Eric the Red

    Eric the Red (950 - 1000), the Norse founder of a settlement in Greenland. He gave the island its name to attract settlers. See more »

  • George Vancouver
    George Vancouver

    Vancouver, George (1758 - 1798), an English navigator and explorer. He surveyed the northwest coast of North America, and his name was given to Vancouver Island and to the cities of Vancouver, British Columbia, and Vancouver, Washington. See more »

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