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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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, he 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…
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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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Sir Francis Drake’s discovery of Nova Albion

Sir Francis Drake’s discovery of Nova Albion

On June 17, 1579, English explorer Sir Francis Drake raised a claim for a new land that he thought he had discovered during his circumnavigation of the world and named it “Nova Albion“. But he was not the first. Already in 1542, Spanish conquistador Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo had landed there and raised a claim for the Spanish crown. He founded a place he called San Miguel, later renamed to San Diego. But,…
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The Hayden Geological Survey and the Yellowstone National Park

The Hayden Geological Survey and the Yellowstone National Park

On June 11, 1871, the Hayden Geological Survey of 1871 led by geologist Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden began, which explored the region of northwestern Wyoming that later became Yellowstone National Park in 1872. Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden graduated from the Albany Medical College in 1853. There he got to know the state geologist of New York, who highly influenced him to join in an exploration of Nebraska Territory, with Fielding Meek in order to study…
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Pedro Álvares Cabral and the Discovery of Brazil

Pedro Álvares Cabral and the Discovery of Brazil

On March 9, 1500, Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral set sail with a fleet of 13 ships to establish a trade route to India. But, due to a storm his ships got lost and he should become one of the first Europeans to reach the coast of Brazil. While details of Cabral’s early life are unclear, it is known that he came from a minor noble family and received a good education. He…
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