explorer

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 Open Polar…
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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. Signing up on Magellan’s East India Expedition Juan Sebastián Elcano was…
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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. Jules Dumont d’Urville…
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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 of Vespucci’s…
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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,[1] a captain in the Russian Imperial Navy; Edward…
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The second Voyage of the HMS Beagle

The second Voyage of the HMS Beagle

On December 27, 1831, the HMS. Beagle set sail from Plymouth Sound under captain Robert FitzRoy [4] 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.[5,6] The HM.S.…
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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 as to…
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The Northern Expeditions of Fridtjof Nansen

The Northern 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 polar travel…
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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, and laid…
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How James Weddell Discovered the Weddell Sea in the Southern Ocean

How James Weddell Discovered the Weddell Sea in 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 the master…
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