explorer

The Expeditions of John Wesley Powell

The Expeditions of John Wesley Powell

On March 24, 1834, American geologist and ethnologist John Wesley Powell was born. He published the first classification of American Indian languages and was the first director of the U.S. Bureau of Ethnology. He is famous for the 1869 Powell Geographic Expedition, a three-month river trip down the Green and Colorado rivers, including the first known passage through the Grand Canyon. John Powell was born in Mount Morris, New York, in 1834. His…
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Richard E. Byrd, Jr. – Aviator and Polar Explorer

Richard E. Byrd, Jr. – Aviator and Polar Explorer

On March 11, 1957, US-American explorer and aviator Richard Evelyn Byrd Jr. passed away. He claimed to be the first man to fly over both of the Earth’s poles. Richard Evelyn Byrd was born in 1888 and entered the United States Navy Academy at the age of 20. It is assumed that his passion for aviation evolved during World War I when he learned how to fly. Soon, Byrd became a flight instructor for the…
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Robert E. Peary’s Arctic Expedition

Robert E. Peary’s Arctic Expedition

On February 20, 1920, American polar explorer Robert Edwin Peary passed away. Peary made the first successful expedition to the North Pole arriving 6 Apr 1909 with his assistant Matthew Henson and four Inuit eskimo companions. Peary’s claim was widely credited for most of the 20th century, rather than the competing claim by Frederick Cook, who said he got there a year earlier. Both claims were widely debated in newspapers until 1913.…
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Erich von Drygalski’s Antarctic Expeditions

Erich von Drygalski’s Antarctic Expeditions

On February 9, 1865, German geographer, geophysicist and polar scientist Erich Dagobert von Drygalski was born. Drygalski discovered a volcano, free of ice, on the Antarctic continent. He named it Gaussberg, after the name of his research ship Gauss in which he led the German South Polar Expedition (1901-03). Erich von Drygalski was born in Köningsberg, East Prussia. At age 17, Drygalski began to study mathematics and natural science at the University of Königsberg,…
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Fabian von Bellingshausen and the Discovery of Antarctica

Fabian von Bellingshausen and the Discovery of Antarctica

On January 25, 1852, Baltic German officer in the Imperial Russian Navy, cartographer and explorer Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen passed away. He was a notable participant of the first Russian circumnavigation and subsequently a leader of another circumnavigation expedition, which discovered the continent of Antarctica. He is remembered in Russia as one if its greatest admirals and explorers, and multiple geographical features and locations in the Antarctic, named in honor of Bellingshausen, remind of…
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Vitus Bering and his Arctic Expeditions

Vitus Bering and his Arctic Expeditions

On December 19, 1741, (or December 8 according to the pre-Gregorian calendar), Danish explorer and officer in the Russian Navy Vitus Jonassen Bering passed away. He is known for his two explorations of the north-eastern coast of the Asian continent and from there the western coast on the North American continent. The Bering Strait, the Bering Sea, Bering Island, the Bering Glacier and the Bering Land Bridge have since all been (posthumously) named…
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Abel Tasman and the Discovery of Tasmania

Abel Tasman and the Discovery of Tasmania

On November 24, 1642, Dutch seafarer, explorer, and merchant Abel Tasman sighted the west coast of Tasmania, north of Macquarie Harbour. He named his discovery Van Diemen’s Land after Antonio van Diemen, Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. Service in the Dutch East India Company Abel Tasman was born in 1603 in Lutjegast in what is now the province of Groningen, the Netherlands. He received a sufficient education to enable him to express…
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Louis Antoine de Bougainville and his Voyage Around the World

Louis Antoine de Bougainville and his Voyage Around the World

Probably on November 11, 1729, French admiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville was born. A contemporary of James Cook, gained fame for his expeditions, the first recorded settlement on the Falkland Islands and his voyages into the Pacific Ocean. The largest of the Solomon Islands is named after him, as is the colorful tropical climbing plant bougainvillaea. Louis Antoine de Bougainville was born in Paris and began to study law, which he abandoned shortly after. Bougainville joined the army in…
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The Travels of William Dampier

The Travels of William Dampier

Map of the East Indies from Dampier’s “A New Voyage Round the World”, published in 1697 On September 5, 1651, British explorer and natural historian William Dampier was probably born. He was the first Englishman to explore parts of what is today Australia, and the first person to circumnavigate the world three times. He has also been described as Australia‘s first natural historian. William Dampier was the son of a farmer and took part…
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Joseph Nicollet and the Upper Mississippi River

Joseph Nicollet and the Upper Mississippi River

On July 24, 1786, French geographer, astronomer, and mathematician Joseph Nicolas Nicollet was born. He is best known for mapping the Upper Mississippi River basin during the 1830s. Nicollet’s maps were among the most accurate of the time and they provided the basis for all subsequent maps of the American interior Jean-Nicolas Nicollet was born in Cluses, Savoy, France. He was very bright, showing aptitude in mathematics and astronomy that earned him a scholarship to…
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