explorer

William of Rubruck and his Adventurous Journey to Karakorum

William of Rubruck and his Adventurous Journey to Karakorum

On January 4, 1254, Flemish Franciscan missionary and explorer William of Rubruck was granted the privilege of an audience at the great Mongol Möngke Khan in his court in Karakorum. Background The Flemish William of Rubruck had joined the Franciscan Friars Minor at an early age, studied in Paris and in 1248 travelled to the Holy Land in the wake of King Louis IX and the seventh crusade, where he stayed for four…
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Vasco da Gama and the Route to India

Vasco da Gama and the Route to India

On December 24, 1524, Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira, passed away. He was one of the most successful explorers in the Age of Discovery and the commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India. Background Vasco da Gama was born into a family of noblemen, his father belonged to the Order of Santiago and was occupied with several administrative tasks. Little is known about…
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Hoist the Sails! The Mayflower and its Journey to the new World…

Hoist the Sails! The Mayflower and its Journey to the new World…

On September 16, 1620, the famous transport ship Mayflower started its first voyage to the new world with English and Dutch separatists on board and arriving Plymouth, Massachusetts in the same year. The ship has become a cultural icon in the history of the United States. On board of the 170 ton Dutch cargo ship were a total of 102 passengers and an additional number of 30 crew members. They all were curious…
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How High/Low Can You Go? – The Explorer Auguste Piccard

How High/Low Can You Go? – The Explorer Auguste Piccard

Scientists and explorers we are, to boldly go where no man has gone before. If there is one scientist, who might serve as the prototype of an bold explorer, then we have to consider Auguste Piccard, a Swiss professor of physics, who tried to explore the deepest depths of the sea as well as the extreme stratosphere of the earth. And he did this not only in theory, but by experiment (always…
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On the Road with Alexander von Humboldt

On the Road with Alexander von Humboldt

On August 3, 1804 geographer, naturalist, and explorer Alexander von Humboldt returned home from his great South America scientific discovery journey. “I am more and more convinced that our happiness or unhappiness depends more on the way we meet the events of life than on the nature of those events themselves”. – Alexander von Humboldt Aimé Bonpland and Daniel Kehlmann Actually, Humboldt did not make this journey all alone. He had a…
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Hernando de Soto’s American Expedition

Hernando de Soto’s American Expedition

On June 3, 1539, Spanish conquistador and explorer Hernando de Soto, with all the dignitaries and necessary paraphernalia, took formal possession of La Florida, where he landed nine ships with more than 620 men and 220 horses. De Soto‘s expedition was the first European expedition leading deep into the territory of the modern-day United States, searching for gold, silver and also a passage to China. Moreover, he also was the first European…
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Jacques Cartier and the Discovery of Canada

Jacques Cartier and the Discovery of Canada

On April 20, 1534, French explorer of Breton origin Jacques Cartier set sail under a commission from the king, hoping to discover a western passage to the wealthy markets of Asia to discover Canada and Labrador. Actually, Jacques Cartier was the first European to describe and map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River, which he named “The Country of Canadas”, after the Iroquois names for…
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The First Non-stop Westbound Flight over the North Atlantic

The First Non-stop Westbound Flight over the North Atlantic

On April 13, 1928, German pilots Hermann Köhl and Ehrenfried Günther Freiherr von Hünefeld together with their Irish co-pilot James Fitzmaurice succeeded in crossing the Atlantic from east to west in an airplane. 36 hours after their take off in Baldonnel, Ireland, they landed with their Junkers W33 aircraft called ‘Bremen‘ on the Canadian island Greenly Island. Transatlantic Flights The possibility of transatlantic flight by aircraft emerged after the First World War, which had…
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Charles Wilkes and the Exploring Expedition of 1838

Charles Wilkes and the Exploring Expedition of 1838

On April 3, 1789, American Naval officer and explorer Charles Wilkes was born. Wilkes led the United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842, on which he determined that Antarctica (which Wilkes so named) is a continent. He also commanded the ship in the Trent Affair during the American Civil War (1861–1865), where he attacked a Royal Mail Ship, almost leading to war between the US and the UK. Charles Wilkes and the U.S. Exploring…
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The Adventures of Sir Richard Francis Burton in Africa

The Adventures of Sir Richard Francis Burton in Africa

On March 19, 1821, Sir Richard Francis Burton, British geographer, explorer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer and diplomat was born. He was known for his travels and explorations within Asia, Africa and the Americas, as well as his extraordinary knowledge of languages and cultures, among them also his journey together with John Hanning Speke [4] as the first Europeans to visit the Great Lakes of Africa in search of the source…
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