explorer

Around the World with Ida Pfeiffer

Around the World with Ida Pfeiffer

On October 28, 1858, Austrian traveler and travel book author Ida Laura Pfeiffer passed away. Pfeiffer was one of the first female explorers, whose popular books were translated into seven languages. On her voyages, she travelled more than 240.000 by sea and 32.000 km on land over four continents. During her travels Ida Pfeiffer collected plants, insects, mollusks, marine life and mineral specimens. Ida Pfeiffer was born in Vienna. She was…
William Scoresby – Arctic Explorer

William Scoresby – Arctic Explorer

On October 5, 1789, English Arctic explorer, scientist and clergyman William Scoresby was born. Scoresby pioneered in the scientific study of the Arctic and contributed to the knowledge of terrestrial magnetism. William Scoresby studied natural philosophy and chemistry at Edinburgh University. However, already as a child, he made his first voyage with his father, an Arctic whale fisher. In 1806 Scoresby accompanied his father as chief officer of the whaler Resolution…
John Hanning Speke and the Source of the Nile

John Hanning Speke and the Source of the Nile

On September 15, 1864, British explorer and army officer John Hanning Speke died by accident with a shot gun. Speke is most associated with the search for the source of the Nile and was in fact the first European that reached Lake Victoria and as such is the “discoverer of the source of the Nile“. Speke was born on 4 May 1827 at Orleigh Court, Buckland Brewer near Bideford, North Devon,…
John McDouall Stuart and the Exploration of Australia’s Mainland

John McDouall Stuart and the Exploration of Australia’s Mainland

On September 7, 1815, Scottish explorer John McDouall Stuart was born. McDouall Stuart became known as one of the most accomplished of all Australia‘s inland explorers. He led the first successful expedition to traverse the Australian mainland from south to north and return, through the centre of the continent. John McDouall Stuart graduated from the Scottish Naval and Military Academy as a civil engineer before emigrating to Australia at the age…
George W. De Long and the ill-fated Jeanette Polar Expedition

George W. De Long and the ill-fated Jeanette Polar Expedition

On August 22, 1844, United States Navy officer and explorer George Washington De Long was born. De Long led the ill-fated Jeannette Expedition in search of the Open Polar Sea. The expedition tried to reach the North Pole by pioneering a route from the Pacific Ocean through the Bering Strait. The premise was that a temperate current, the Kuro Siwo, flowed northwards into the strait, providing a gateway to an…
Juan Sebastián Elcano and the First Circumnavigation of the Earth

Juan Sebastián Elcano and the First Circumnavigation of the Earth

On August 4, 1526, Spanish explorer of Basque origin Juan Sebastián Elcano passed away. Elcano was part of the Spanish expedition commanded by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who set sail for the first successful circumnavigation of the Earth. After Magellan‘s death in the Philippines, Elcano took command of the nau Victoria from the Moluccas to Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Spain. Juan Sebastián Elcano was born among four brothers in…
Jules Dumont d’Urville and his South-Pacific Voyages

Jules Dumont d’Urville and his South-Pacific Voyages

On May 8, 1842, French explorer, naval officer and rear admiral Jules Sébastien César Dumont d’Urville passed away. D’Urville commanded voyages of exploration to the South Pacific (1826–29) and the Antarctic (1837–40), resulting in extensive revisions of existing charts and discovery or redesignation of island groups. As a botanist and cartographer he left his mark, giving his name to several seaweeds, plants and shrubs, and places such as D’Urville Island. Dumont…
Amerigo Vespucci and the New World

Amerigo Vespucci and the New World

On February 22, 1512, Italian explorer, financier, navigator and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci passed away. He first demonstrated that Brazil and the West Indies did not represent Asia’s eastern outskirts as initially conjectured from Columbus’ voyages, but instead constituted an entirely separate landmass hitherto unknown to Afro-Eurasians. Colloquially referred to as the New World, this second super continent came to be termed “America“, deriving its name from Americus, the Latin version…
Edward Bransfield and the first Sighting of Antarctica

Edward Bransfield and the first Sighting of Antarctica

In January 1820, British Navy officer Edward Bransfield sighted Trinity Peninsula, the northernmost point of the Antarctic mainland. However, the very first confirmed sighting of mainland Antarctica cannot be accurately attributed to one single person. It can, however, be narrowed down to three individuals, who all sighted the ice shelf or the continent within days or months of each other: Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, a captain in the Russian Imperial…
The second Voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle

The second Voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle

On December 27, 1831, The H.M.S. Beagle set sail from Plymouth Sound under captain Robert FitzRoy with the young graduate Charles Darwin on board for her 5 years voyage. By the end of the expedition Charles Darwin had already made his name as a geologist and fossil collector, and the publication of his journal which became known as The Voyage of the Beagle gave him wide renown as a writer.…
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