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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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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-Benédict de Saussure – Growing Up in the Alps Horace Bénédicte de Saussure was born on February 17, 1740 near Geneva, Switzerland. Saussure received encouragement from his father, Nicolas de Saussure, his uncle Charles Bonnet, the naturalist and poet Albrecht von Haller and…
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Salomon August Andrée’s Ill-Fated Arctic Balloon Expedition of 1897

Salomon August Andrée’s Ill-Fated 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 two companions…
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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 – Youth and Education…
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Bartolomeu Dias and his Trip into the Pacific Ocean

Bartolomeu Dias and his Trip into the Pacific Ocean

Most likely on May 29, 1500, Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias died by drowning in a storm near Cabo das Tormentas. 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. Little in known about Bartolomeu Dias’ Early Life Not too much is known about the life and achievements of Bartolomeu Dias. He may have been a descendant of João…
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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 – Early Years 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…
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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. “Economy in speech is the force by which its development has…
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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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