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Courage and Folly – The Burke and Wills Expedition Crossing Australia

Courage and Folly – The Burke and Wills Expedition Crossing Australia

On August 20, 1860, Robert O’Hara Burke and William John Wills led an expedition of 19 men with the intention of crossing Australia from South to North and back again. But, due to poor leadership and bad luck, both of the expedition’s leaders died on the return journey and only one man, John King, crossed the continent with the expedition and returned alive to Melbourne. In the early 1850’s, gold was found…
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Ferdinand Magellan and the first Trip around the World

Ferdinand Magellan and the first Trip around the World

On 10 August 1519, five ships under Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan‘s command left Seville and descended the Guadalquivir River to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, at the mouth of the river. After further preparation 5 weeks later the ships set sail for the very first circumnavigation of the earth. Growing up in Lisbon Magellan was born Fernão de Magalhães (or Magalhãens) to an impoverished noble family in the northern Portuguese province of Trás-os-Montes. His…
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Jean-François de La Pérouse and his Voyage around the World

Jean-François de La Pérouse and his Voyage around the World

On August 1, 1785, French Navy officer Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse with 2 ships, the Astrolabe and the Boussole, and 200 men left Brest to lead an expedition around the world. The objectives of the journey were to complete the Pacific discoveries of James Cook (whom La Pérouse greatly admired), correct and complete maps of the area, establish trade contacts, open new maritime routes and enrich French science and scientific…
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Around the World in a Balloon with Steve Fossett

Around the World in a Balloon with Steve Fossett

On June 19, 2002, American businessman, and a record-setting aviator, sailor, and adventurer Steve Fossett launched the 10-story high balloon Spirit of Freedom from Northam, Western Australia, for a journey around the world. Steve Fossett Background In his youth, Fossett’s career as an adventurer began when he joined the boy scouts. He began climbing his first mountains and through the years he seeked higher mountains, bigger adventures and longer distances. As an…
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James Cook and the Great Barrier Reef

James Cook and the Great Barrier Reef

On June 11, 1770, British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy James Cook discovered the Great Barrier Reef while running aground and risking his ship, the HMS Endeavour, to sink. Background James Cook Cook’s birth is recorded in the parish register of St. Cuthbert in Yorkshire with the entry “27 October 1728 James, son of the day labourer James Cook and his wife Grace”. He was one of eight children.…
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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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