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Before the discovery of the sea trade route to India, many explorers tried to explore the coast of Africa and see if that route provides potential for reaching Asia. One of the most important explorers from that period was Bartolomeu Dias who discovered Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa.
Finding the sea trade route to the India was a life goal of many Portuguese explorer toward the end of 15th century. Diogo Cão did not manage to achieve that goal, but his discoveries paved the way for Vasco Da Gama.
Eudoxus of Cyzicus is 2nd century BC Greek sea navigator that was part of several exploratory missions in Indian Sea and coast of Africa. Read more about his exploits here.
Sir Francis Drake is today remembered as one of the finest English naval explorers of the 16th century. He led several important expeditions, discovered new lands, and managed to become first Englishman who has circumvented the world.
French explorer Jacques Cartier remains remembered today as the first person who claimed the territory of Canada for the French King Francis I. Here you can learn more about his life and his exploits on the North America.
Modern history remembers James Cook as one of the most important naval officers of the British naval fleet. During his life he performed several expeditions in the Pacific, discovered Hawaii and tried to discovered way through Northwestern Passage.
Juan de la Cosa remains remembered today as naval navigator and the creator of the famous map of the world called "Mappa Mundi". He crated that map sailing on his ship "Santa Maria" that followed Christopher Columbus on his journey to the shores of Central America in 1492.
Vast majority of polar explorers were only part of few expeditions to frozen continents, but only few spent their entire life visiting them. One of those explorers is Robert Bartlett who went to Arctic more than 40 times.
Early exploration of the North American continent cannot be said without mentioning the exploits of the famous French Explorer Samuel de Champlain who was responsible for naming the country of Canada and igniting colonization of its territory.
In the early years of the 16th century Spanish captain Sebastián de Ocampo proved to the world that the Caribbean island Hispaniola (now known as Cuba) was not the part of the larger continent but that is island instead.
During the time when Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Richard Grenville made their numerous exploits in warfare, trading and exploration, Sir John Hawkins made name for himself by organizing defense of England against Spanish Armada in 1588 and spearheading movement of transporting slaves from Africa into the New World.
Thomas Cavendish was a famous English naval explorer who made the name for himself by becoming the first man who has deliberately circumvented the Earth. He raided several Spanish ships and finished the journey around the world in record time. Learn more about his exploits here.