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The American Expedition of Lewis and Clark

The American Expedition of Lewis and Clark

On May 14, 1804, American explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark departed for the first American expedition to cross what is now the western portion of the United States, departing from St. Louis on the Mississippi River making their way westward through the continental divide to the Pacific coast. To cross Northern America from the east to the west, and doing this even more than 200 years ago, this really was an adventurous…
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How the Pope divided the New World among Spain and the Rest of the World

How the Pope divided the New World among Spain and the Rest of the World

On May 4, 1493, Pope Alexander VI issued the papal bull ‘Inter caetera‘ (Among other [works]), which granted to the Catholic Majesties of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain all lands to the “west and south” of a pole-to-pole line 100 leagues west and south of any of the islands of the Azores or the Cape Verde islands. It established a dividing line between the Castilian and Portuguese spheres of power. No Agreement between Portugal and Spain…
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Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki

Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki

On April 28, 1947, Norwegian ethnographer and adventurer Thor Heyerdahl and five crew mates set out from Peru on the self-built raft Kon-Tiki to prove that Peruvian natives could have settled Polynesia. With Kon-Tiki, Heyerdahl sailed 8,000 km across the Pacific Ocean in a self-built raft from South America to the Tuamotu Islands to demonstrate that ancient people could have made long sea voyages, creating contacts between apparently separate culture. Thor Heyerdahl…
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Edward Whymper and the First Ascend of the Matterhorn

Edward Whymper and the First Ascend of the Matterhorn

On April 27, 1840, English mountaineer, explorer, illustrator, and author Edward Whymper was born. He is best known for the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865; four members of his party were killed during the descent. From Wood Engraving to the Western Alpes Edward Whymper was born in London, England as the second of eleven children. He learned and practiced wood-engraving starting at very young age. In order to draw scenery…
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Jacob Roggeveen and the Easter Island

Jacob Roggeveen and the Easter Island

On April 5, 1722, Dutch seafarer Jacob Roggeveen is the first European to discover the Polynesian island Rapa Nui, which he named Easter Island. Arent Roggeveen Arent Roggeveen was an accomplished scholar and teacher in mathematics, astronomy, and navigational theory. He managed to obtain a charter from the States-General of the United Netherlands in order to head towards the South Sea in 1675. However, he found no shareholders among the conservative Dutch merchants,…
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Around the World with Steam Power – The HMS Driver

Around the World with Steam Power – The HMS Driver

On March 16, 1842, the HMS Driver started the first voyage around the Earth for a steamship, finally arriving back home in Portsmouth, England, again on Friday 14 May 1847. A Circumnavigation of the Globe The first single voyage of global circumnavigation was that of the ship Victoria, between 1519 and 1522, known as the Magellan–Elcano expedition. It was a Castilian (Spanish) voyage of discovery, led initially by the Portuguese Ferdinand Magellan between…
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Lost on Mars – The Ill Fate of the Beagle 2 Space Mission

Lost on Mars – The Ill Fate of the Beagle 2 Space Mission

On February 11, 2004, the British Mars landing spacecraft Beagle 2 that formed part of the European Space Agency’s 2003 Mars Express mission was abandoned due to all contact with it was lost. “HMS Beagle was the ship that took Darwin on his voyage around the world in the 1830s and led to our knowledge about life on Earth making a real quantum leap. We hope Beagle 2 will do the same thing for…
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Sven Hedin and the Chinese-Swedish Expedition

Sven Hedin and the Chinese-Swedish Expedition

On February 7, 1935, the Chinese-Swedish expedition lead by Swedish geographer, topographer, explorer, photographer, travel writer, and illustrator Sven Hedin after crossing Mongolia and the Gobi Dessert reaches Xi’an on the Southern route of the Silk Road. ““I was swept away by the irresistible desiderium incognitti which breaks down all obstacles and refuses to recognise the impossible” ― Sven Hedin, My Life as an Explorer, 1926 Early Years Hedin was the son…
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Umberto Nobile and his Airships

Umberto Nobile and his Airships

On January 21, 1885, Italian aeronautical engineer and Arctic explorer Umberto Nobile was born. He was a developer and promoter of semi-rigid airships during the Golden Age of Aviation. Nobile is primarily remembered for designing and piloting the airship Norge, which may have been the first aircraft to reach the North Pole. Early Years Born in Lauro, southern Italy, the son of Vincenzo Nicolò Francesco Nobile delle Piane, descendant of a cadet…
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Ernest Shackleton and his South Pole Expeditions

Ernest Shackleton and his South Pole Expeditions

On 9 January 1909, British polar explorer Ernest Shackleton and three companions reached a new Farthest South latitude of 88° 23′ S, a point only 180 km from the South Pole and were forced to return to McMurdo Sound in a race against starvation. “The outstanding feature of today’s march is that we have seen new land to the South never seen by human eyes before great snow clad heights [which] we did…
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