Famous Explorers of the World

Since the dawn of human civilization, constant need of human expansion set the army of explorers to discover new lands and new routes to travel across the unfamiliar terrain. Those early periods of exploration proved to be instrumental in the future, and they paved the way for all the future explorers that imagined strange lands just beyond horizon.

As we look back into history, the most prominent era for the explorers was without a doubt a time between 15th and 17th century, when European countries began exploring the continents of Americas. However, those discoveries would never be made without the efforts of the ancient explorers from the almost 2000 years ago. Tales of the journeys of Skylax (who managed to circumvent Arabian Peninsula in 500 BC), Pytheas (who in 300 BC discovered England, Scandinavia and polar ice) and Alexander the Great(who explored the areas of Middle East and almost reached India) ignited the minds of medieval explorers, who set their sights of finding the water route to distant India.

Under the orders of the royal courts of Spain and Portugal, organized parties of naval explorers spread beyond the Mediterranean. While Portugal slowly and systematically mapped the western coast of Africa in search of the way to India, Spain took a gamble and accepted to fund the mission of Italian navigator Christopher Columbus, who postulated that India could be reached by sailing to the west. Discovery of the continents of Americas, and Ferdinand Magellan's successful circumvention of the Earth created the biggest wave of human exploration and colonization our world has ever seen. Hundreds of famous explorers scoured across the oceans, in search for undiscovered lands. During that period, entire North and South America were fully mapped, with only few isolated areas remaining uncharted (most notably fabled Northwestern Passage between Canada and Polar Ice, and endless forest around river Amazon). Sadly, this exciting time of exploration also brought destruction of several Native American civilizations, especially in Central America (fall of Aztec and Inca empires).

European Explorers

The cradle of modern civilization was the home of countless numbers of famous explorers. From the ancient empires of Greece and Egypt, to the largest organized Age of Discovery in 15th-16th century, their drive to discover new uncharted lands brought the great advancement to the entire human race.

American Explorers

Since its discovery, explorers from America continued to explore newfound lands that surrounded them. Here you can find the tales of their great discoveries – from the famous journey of Lewis and Clark to the unexplored land of the American northwest, to the Neil Armstrong’s first landing on the moon.

Explorers by Location

Exploration of our world was conducted in several big waves. Here you can found out more about those periods, from the ancient Greece explorers, birth of the 16th century Golden Age of Discovery, modern Polar exploration, all leading to the exciting 20th century Space Race which finally enabled human race to step outside confines of our Earth.

Explorers by Time Period

Endless expansion of human civilization brought the need of exploration of unknown lands, and that drive brought us some of the greatest discoveries of humankind. Here you can find out more about the areas of Earth that received the greatest amount of attention from many explorers around the world.

Explorers from 18th and 19th century focused their work on last remaining two continents - Australia and Africa. During that time, English navigator James Cook traveled several times across the Pacific discovering Australia, Hawaii and searching for the elusive Northwestern Passage, focus of many European explorers was in the central and south Africa. Driven by the increased hostilities before the start of World War I, the entire continent of Africa was conquered and put under European rule. During that time, several explorers found their fame discovering new African lands, most notably David Livingstone.

With every continent of the earth fully mapped, explorers of the 20th century set their sights on only two remaining unmapped parts of the world - North and South Pole. During the time today known as "Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration", several dozen expeditions went into harsh Pole environments in search for glory and scientific discovery. Most important explorers from that time were Norwegian Roald Amundsen (who first reached the South Pole) and Robert Peary (who first reached North Pole).

The last great area of exploration was created in the second part of 20th century with the development of space travel. Driven by the increased hostilities between United States and Soviet Union, thousands of scientists gave the way for the new breed of explorers to go outside of the confines of the Earth, and visits the worlds never before seen and touched by humankind. To this day, one of the most important moments in the history of the world is represented by the first space flight by Yuri Gagarin and famous moon landing by Neil Armstrong. Hopefully, advanced science will in the future enable the humankind to further more explore the distant planets of our solar system.

Featured Articles

Exploration of America

The discovery of a New World by Christopher Columbus kick-started one the greatest age of exploration that Earth has ever seen. For over 3 centuries, explorers from around the world explored these vast continents, in search for undiscovered fertile lands, vast resources and better trade routes.

Polar Explorers

Period called "Heroic Age of Polar Exploration" happened between 1897 and 1922, when more than a dozen brave explorers set their aim for the conquest of North and South Pole. During that time, eye of the public remained fixed on their adventures that brought fame for some, and death or misfortune for less lucky ones.

Space Explorers

In the last 50 years, space explorers brought us some of the greatest discoveries in human history. From the first human in space, to the first steps on the moon, brave space explorers continue to amaze us with their expeditions in the dark and inhospitable environment of Space.

Age of Exploration

During the end of 15th century, European sea explorers became fascinated with trying to find the way to reach the wealthy trading cities of India. That quest led them into one of the most interesting times in the human history - Age of Discovery.

Bartolomeu Dias

Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias is today remembered for his scientific missions around the coast of Eastern and Southern Africa. His journeys proved to be instrumental in the Portuguese and Vasco da Gama’s ambition to reach the India over the sea.