Famous Explorers of the World

Are you interested in exploring the world? Here is a list of "30 role models". Learn their stories and get inspiration for your next exploration!
a data set by WorldExplorer
created January 8, 2017
ExplorerPictureNationalityYear of BirthYear of DeathReason for FameMain Area ExploredPublished Work
Leif EricsonNorwegian9701020He was the first European to set foot on North America.Vinland (Newfoundland) and North American mainland (Canada)
Marco PoloItalian12541324He explored Asia and was the first European to meet Kublai Khan.China, Mongol Empire, IndiaThe Travels of Marco Polo
Ibn BattutaMoroccan13041369He traveled to Islamic countries throughout the world.Africa, Central Asia, China, Europe, Indian subcontinent, Middle East, Russia, Southeast AsiaJourney
Zheng HeChinese13711433He led voyages that brought him through Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.South Asia, Southeast Asia, Middle East, East African coast
John CabotItalian14501499He was the first European since the Vikings to explore the mainland of North America and the first to search for the Northwest Passage.North American mainland (Canada)
Bartolomeu Dias Portuguese14511500He was the first European to sail around the southern tip of Africa.Africa
Christopher ColumbusItalian14511506Discovery and colonization of the AmericasBahamas, Caribbean, Central America, South America (Colombia and Venezuela)Book of Privileges; Book of Prophecies
Amerigo VespucciItalian14541512He was the man from whom the word “America” comes. He was also able to show that Brazil was not part of Asia.Eastern South American coast, CaribbeanAmerigo Vespucci; Mundus Novus; The First Four Voyages of Amerigo Vespucci
Vasco da GamaPortuguese14601524He was one of the pioneers of the Age of Exploration, leading sails from Europe to India.Sea route from Europe to IndiaA Journal of the First Voyage of Vasco Da Gama
Francisco PizarroSpanish1471 or 14761541His expedition to South America and the overthrow of the Incan empireHispaniola, Panama, Peru
Juan Ponce de LeonSpanish14741521He was the very first European to discover and explore Florida.Florida
Ferdinand MagellanPortuguese14801521He led the first sailing expedition to circumnavigate the globe.1st circumnavigation, Philippines, Strait of Malacca, Indian Ocean
Hernan CortesSpanish14851547He was an explorer and soldier who conquered the Aztec empire. MexicoFive Letters; The Discovery & Conquest of Mexico
Jacques Cartier French14911557He was the first European to travel inland in North America, who claimed Canada for France.St. Lawrence RiverThe Voyages of Jacques Cartier
Hernando de SotoSpanish14951542He was the first European to cross and document the Mississippi River.Central America, Southern United States
Francis DrakeBritish15401596He was the second man to circumnavigate the world between 1577 and 1580.Caribbean, Pacific Coast of North AmericaThe Life of the Celebrated
Henry HudsonBritisharound 1565-15701611He explored the New York area and had a river named after him. Northwest Passage, Hudson River and Hudson Bay
Samuel de ChamplainFrench15741635He is known as the “Father of the New France” as he established New France and Quebec City during his explorations in North America. Quebec, Great LakesVoyages of Samuel De Champlain; Narrative of a Voyage to the West Indies and Mexico in the Years 1599-1602
John SmithBritish15801631He was the leader of the Virginia colony and also led explorations of Chesapeake Bay and Virginia.VirginiaThe General History of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles; A Description of New England
James CookBritish17281779Discovery of the Hawaiian IslandsAustralasia, OceaniaA Voyage to the Pacific Ocean; A Voyage towards the South Pole and Round the World
Daniel BooneAmerican17341820He blazed the trail from Virginia to Kentucky through the Appalachian Mountains. Appalachian MountainsThe Life of Daniel Boone; Stories of American Pioneers
William ClarkAmerican17701838He was one of the leaders of the Corps of Discovery, the first American expedition to explore the western portion.Western United StatesThe Journals of Lewis and Clark
Meriwether LewisAmerican17741809He was one of the leaders of the Corps of Discovery, the first American expedition to explore the western portion.Western United StatesThe Journals of Lewis and Clark
SacagaweaAmerican Native (Shoshone)17881812She traveled as guide with the Lewis and Clark Expedition.Western United States
Roald AmundsenNorwegian18721928Discovery of the South Pole South Pole, Antarctica, Northwest PassageMy Life as an Explorer; First Crossing of the Polar Sea; The South Pole
Jacques CousteauFrench19101997He studied and explored life under the sea.The deep seaThe Ocean World of Jacques Cousteau; Diving for Sunken Treasure; The Human, the Orchid, and the Octopus
Edmund HillaryNew Zealand19192008He was the first man to ever climb to the top of Mount Everest.Mount Everest, AntarcticaHigh Adventure; Nothing Venture, Nothing Win; From the Ocean to the Sky
Neil ArmstrongAmerican19302012He was the first man to walk on the moon.The moonFirst on the Moon
Yuri GagarinSoviet19341968He was the first person to go into outer space.Earth orbitRoad to the Stars; Psychology and Space; Soviet Man in Space
Reinhold Messner Italian1944He successfully climbed Mount Everest in 1978 with no oxygen to supplement his climb. He is also the first man to climb fourteen mountains that are at least 8,000 meters (26,247 feet) high.Mount Everest and other moutainsThe Naked Mountain; Spirit: A Climber's Life; To the Top of the World: Alpine Challenges in the Himalaya and Karakoram