Discovered the "New World" of the Americas.
Christopher Columbus (1451 - 1506)
Scottish-Canadian explorer who in 1789, looking for the Northwest Passage, followed the river now named after him to the Arctic Ocean and then in 1793 crossed the Rockies and reached the Pacific in 1793, thus beating Lewis and Clark by 12 years.
Alexander MacKenzie (1764-1820)
Danish explorer who explored the Siberian Far East and Alaska and claimed it for Russia.
Vitus Bering (1681 - 1741)
French explorers best known for exploring the Great lake regions for fur.
Radisson and Groseilliers
Explored Florida while vainly trying to find the Fountain of Youth.
Juan Ponce de León (c. 1460 - 1521)
First European to land in North America.
Leif Ericson (980 - 1020)
In 1643, became the first known European expedition to reach New Zealand and to sight the Fiji islands.
Abel Tasman (1603 - 1659)
Discovered Newfoundland and claimed it for the Kingdom of England.
John Cabot (c. 1450 - 1499)
Searched for the Seven Cities of Gold and discovered the Grand Canyon in the process.
Francisco Vásquez de Coronado (c. 1510 - 1554)
Explored Florida, mainly northwest Florida, and discovered the Mississippi River.
Hernando de Soto (c. 1496 - 1542)
The first European to cross the Isthmus of Panama and view the Pacific ocean from American shores.
Vasco Núñez de Balboa (c. 1475 - 1519)
A French Navy officer and explorer whose expedition vanished in Oceania.
Jean François La Pérouse (1741–1788)
German explorer and scientist whose work was foundational to the field of biogeography.
Alexander von Humboldt (1769 - 1859)
English naval captain who explored much of the Pacific including New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii.
James Cook (1728 - 1779)
The first Englishman to sail around the world (and survive).
Sir Francis Drake (c. 1540 - 1596)
Discovered the sea route to India.
Vasco da Gama (c. 1469 - 1524)
American explorer and field scientist who led the Expedition into the Louisiana Purchase and the Pacific Northwest in 1804-1806.
Captain Meriwether Lewis (1774 - 1809)
Led the first successful Antarctic expedition between 1910 and 1912 to the South Pole.
Roald Amundsen (1872 - 1928)
First to circumnavigate Great Britain and to explore Germany. Reached Thule, most commonly thought to be the Shetland Islands or Iceland.
Pytheas (380 - c. 310 BC)
First person to reach the North Pole.
Robert Edwin Peary (1856 - 1920)
Jacques Cartier (1491 - 1557)
Regarded as first European discoverer of the sea route to Brazil.
Pedro Álvares Cabral (c. 1467 - c. 1520)
Erik the Red (950 - 1003)
Initiated the first circumnavigation of the globe in a single expedition. Named Pacific Ocean. Died in the Philippines after claiming them for Spain.
Ferdinand Magellan (1480 - 1521)
Completed the first circumnavigation of the globe in a single expedition after its captain, Magellan, was killed.
Juan Sebastián Elcano (1476 - 1526)
English explorer who explored much of the North Atlantic, including Labrador, the coast of Greenland, and Hudson Bay. Presumed dead in a 1611 mutiny of his own crew.
Henry Hudson (1570 - 1611)
Sailed from Portugal and reached the Cape of Good Hope.
Bartholomeu Dias (c. 1450 - 1500)