explorer

Salomon August Andrée and his Failed Polar Balloon Expedition

Salomon August Andrée and his Failed Polar Balloon Expedition

On October 18, 1854, Swedish engineer, physicist, aeronaut and polar explorer Salomon August Andrée was born. Andrée died while leading an attempt to reach the Geographic North Pole by hydrogen balloon. The balloon expedition was unsuccessful in reaching the Pole and resulted in the deaths of all three of its participants. Introducing Auguste Andrèe Salomon Auguste Andrée attended the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1874. Two…
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Peter Simon Pallas – A Pioneer in Zoography

Peter Simon Pallas – A Pioneer in Zoography

On September 22, 1741, German zoologist and botanist Peter Simon Pallas was born. Pallas was a pioneer in zoogeography by going beyond merely cataloging specimens with simple descriptions, but included observations of causal relationships between animals and their environment. He looked for hidden regularities in natural phenomena over an extreme range of habitats. Peter Simon Pallas – Early Years Pallas was born in Berlin, the son of Professor of Surgery Simon Pallas…
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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. A pioneering American aviator he claimed to be the first man to fly over both of the Earth’s poles. Aircraft flights in which he served as a navigator and expedition leader crossed the Atlantic Ocean, a segment of the Arctic Ocean, and a segment of the Antarctic Plateau.  Richard Evelyn Byrd – Early Years Richard Evelyn Byrd was born in 1888 in Winchester, Virginia, USA,…
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Georg Wilhelm Steller and the Great Nordic Expedition

Georg Wilhelm Steller and the Great Nordic Expedition

On March 10, 1709, German botanist, zoologist, physician and explorer Georg Wilhelm Steller was born. He joined the Russian explorer Vitus Bering on his second expedition to Kamchatka and Alaska, where he discovered numerous new species, as e.g. the Steller‘s sea cow that was named after him. From Theology to Medicine Steller was born as Georg Wilhelm Stöller and grew up in Windsheim, near Nuremberg in Germany, son to a Lutheran cantor…
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Alfonso X from Spain and the Alfonsine Tables

Alfonso X from Spain and the Alfonsine Tables

On November 23, 1221, Spanish King and astronomer Alfonso X of Castile was born, who encouraged the preparation of revised planetary tables. These “Alfonsine Tables” a revision and improvement of the Ptolemaic tables, were the best available during the Middle Ages. “Had I been present at the Creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better ordering of the universe.” – Alfonso X, after studying Ptolemy’s treatise on astronomy.[10] Alfonso…
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Juan Bautista de Anza and the Route to San Francisco Bay

Juan Bautista de Anza and the Route to San Francisco Bay

On March 28, 1776, Basque New-Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza was the first to reach the San Francisco Bay by land. De Anza was the first European to establish an overland route from Mexico, through the Sonoran Desert, to the Pacific coast of California. New World Spanish explorers had been seeking such a route through the desert southwest for more than two centuries. Background Juan Bautista de Anza Anza was born in 1736…
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Ibn Battuta and the Marvels of Traveling the Medieval World

Ibn Battuta and the Marvels of Traveling the Medieval World

On 24 February 1304, Muslim Berber Moroccan scholar, and explorer Ibn Battuta was born. Over a period of thirty years, Ibn Battuta visited most of the Islamic world and many non-Muslim lands, including Central Asia, Southeast Asia, India and China. Near the end of his life, he dictated an account of his journeys, titled A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Traveling. “I arrived at…
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How the Pope divided the New World among Spain and the Rest of the World

How the Pope divided the New World among Spain and the Rest of the World

On May 4, 1493, Pope Alexander VI issued the papal bull ‘Inter caetera‘ (Among other [works]), which granted to the Catholic Majesties of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain all lands to the “west and south” of a pole-to-pole line 100 leagues west and south of any of the islands of the Azores or the Cape Verde islands. It established a dividing line between the Castilian and Portuguese spheres of power. No Agreement between Portugal and Spain…
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The Fantastic Gardens of Hermann von Pückler-Muskau

The Fantastic Gardens of Hermann von Pückler-Muskau

On October 30, 1785, German nobleman Prince Hermann Ludwig Heinrich von Pückler-Muskau was born. Von Pückler-Muskau was an excellent artist in landscape gardening and wrote widely appreciated books, mostly about his travels in Europe and Northern Africa, published under the pen name of “Semilasso“. “Under 20 cases, 19 times the firm will and patience makes the so-called impossible easily possible beyond all expectations.” – Hermann von Pückler-Muskau [1] Family Background and Education…
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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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