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Ludwig Leichhardt’s Australian Expeditions

Ludwig Leichhardt’s Australian Expeditions

On October 23, 1813, Prussian explorer and naturalist Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig Leichhardt was born. He is most famous for his exploration of northern and central Australia. Leichhardt went to Australia in 1842 to study the rocks and wildlife in Queensland and the Northern Territory. In 1846 he left on an expedition with nine men to find a route from Moreton Bay (Brisbane) to Perth, rather poorly equipped. The party disappeared, leaving a mystery…
The Expeditions of Fridtjof Nansen

The Expeditions of Fridtjof Nansen

On October 10, 1861, Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Fridtjof Nansen was born. Nansen led the team that made the first crossing of the Greenland interior in 1888, cross-country skiing on the island, and won international fame after reaching a record northern latitude of 86°14′ during his North Pole expedition of 1893–96. Although he retired from exploration after his return to Norway, his techniques of…
Henry Hudson’s Voyages in North America

Henry Hudson’s Voyages in North America

On September 11, 1609, English sea explorer and navigator Henry Hudson after having reached the estuary of the river that carries his name today, followed the river upstream sailing along Manhattan Island. Hudson explored the region around modern New York metropolitan area while looking for a western route to Asia while in the employment of the Dutch East India Company. He explored the river which eventually was named for him,…
James Weddell and the Southern Ocean

James Weddell and the Southern Ocean

On August 24 1787, British sailor, navigator and seal hunter James Weddell was born. He sailed into a region of the Southern Ocean that later became known as the Weddell Sea. Also the Weddell seal was discovered and named in the 1820s during expeditions led by James Weddell. Not much is known about James Weddell’s early life. He probably entered the merchant service at quite young age and was bound to…
Horace-Bénédict de Saussure and the Mount Blanc

Horace-Bénédict de Saussure and the Mount Blanc

On August 3, 1787, Swiss physicist and Alpine traveller Horace-Bénédict de Saussure made the third ascent of the Mount Blanc and determined via scientific measurement Mont Blanc to be the highest mountain in Europe. Horace Bénédicte de Saussure was born on February 17, 1740 near Geneva and studied nature science at Geneva starting from 1754. At the age of only 22, Saussure was appointed professor at the University of Geneva. During his years as…
Salomon August Andrée’s Arctic Balloon Expedition of 1897

Salomon August Andrée’s Arctic Balloon Expedition of 1897

On July 13, 1897, the balloon of S. A. Andrée’s Arctic Balloon Expeditions crashed on the pack ice. S. A. Andrée, the first Swedish balloonist, proposed a voyage by hydrogen balloon from Svalbard, Sweden to either Russia or Canada, which was to pass, with luck, straight over the North Pole on the way. Unfortunately, Andrée did not succeed, disregarding the forces of nature in the series of events that led to his death and those of his…
Joshua Slocum and his first single-handed sail around the World

Joshua Slocum and his first single-handed sail around the World

On June 27, 1898, the first solo circumnavigation of the globe is completed by Joshua Slocum from Brier Island, Nova Scotia. After more than three years, Slocum returned in his gaff rigged sloop oyster boat named Spray having circumnavigated the world, a distance of more than 74,000 km. The event was almost unnoticed because the Spanish–American War, which had begun two months earlier, dominated all the headlines. Joshua Slocum grew up…
Antonio Bosio and the Rediscovery of the Roman Catacombs

Antonio Bosio and the Rediscovery of the Roman Catacombs

  On May 31, 1578, the Catacombs of Rome were discovered by accident. A sepulchral chamber was opened by some laborers digging for pozzolana earth. Ecclesiastical historian Caesar Baronius was one of the first to visit the new discovery. Fifteen years later, in December 1593, 18-yr-old Antonio Bosio began a lifetime exploring the catacombs researching them for his volume, Roma Sotterranea. Antonio Bosio was born in Malta. As a young…
Bartolomeu Dias and his Trip into the Pacific Ocean

Bartolomeu Dias and his Trip into the Pacific Ocean

On May 29, 1500, Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias passed away. Dias sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, reaching the Indian Ocean from the Atlantic, the first European known to have done so. Not too much is known about the life and achievements of Bartolomeu Dias. He was a Knight of the royal court, superintendent of the royal warehouses, and sailing-master of the man-of-war, São Cristóvão. In October…
Arthur Phillip – Commander of the First Fleet

Arthur Phillip – Commander of the First Fleet

On May 13, 1787, the First Fleet commanded by Captain (later Admiral) Arthur Phillip, left Portsmouth, England, to found a penal colony that became the first European settlement in Australia. Arthur Phillip was born in the parish of London in 1738 and enrolled at Greenwich School for the sons of seamen. After two years at sea his apprenticeship in the mercantile service was completed and afterwards, he remained aboard as…
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