Explorers and Exploration 325 BCE to Present Day

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Leif Ericson

This timeline gives a chronological listing of the greatest explorers and feats of exploration from 325BCE to present day

325 BC
Pytheas (Greek)
Made a voyage of discovery to North West Europe
138 – 125 BC
Zhang Qian (Chinese)
Created the Silk Road across Asia
982 – 985
Eric the Red (Norwegian)
Discovered Greenland and settled there
Leif Erikson (Icelandic)
Discovered North America
1271 – 1295
Marco Polo (Italian)
Travelled extensively across Asia
1405 – 1436
Zheng He (Chinese)
Explored Asia, South-East Asia, Eastern Africa and the Middle East
1497 – 24th June
John Cabot (Italian)
Discovered Newfoundland
1488 – Feb-May
Bartolomeu Dias (Portuguese)
Sailed to southern Africa
1492 – 1504
Four Voyages to the Americas
1497 July – 1514 February
Vasco da Gama (Portuguese) Sailed from Europe to India
1499 – 1502
Amerigo Vespucci (Italian)
Named America as a new continent
Vasco Nunez de Bilbao (Spanish)
Led the first European expedition across Panama to the Pacific Ocean
1513 April – 1514 May
Juan Ponce de Lyon (Spanish)
Discovered and explored Florida
1519 March
Hernando Cortes (Spain)
Discovered Mexico and claimed it for Spain
1520 November
Ferdinand Magellan (Portuguese)
Named the Pacific Ocean
1524 – 1526, 1532
Francisco Pizarro (Spanish)
Explored Colombia and conquered Peru
1534 July
Jacques Cartier (French)
Discovered Canada for France
1542 – 1543
Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo (Portuguese)
First European to reach California, claimed land for Spain.
1576 7th June – 1578
Martin Frobisher (English)
Discovered Labrador, Canada, Frobisher Bay and Baffin Island while searching for a North-West passage
1577 December – 1580 September
Francis Drake (English)
Circumnavigated the World
1585 – 1587
Walter Raleigh (English)
Colonised New England, America
1608 3rd July
Samuel de Champlain (French)
Founded Quebec, he also explored Canada
1609 – 1610
Henry Hudson (English)
Explored North America and Canada, named the Hudson river
1642 December
Abel Tasman (Dutch)
Discovered Tasmania and New Zealand
Vitus Bering (Danish)
Discovered the Bering Strait between Alaska and Siberia
1768 – 1779
James Cook (English)
Mapped Pacific Islands, New Zealand and Eastern Australia
1775 August
Daniel Boon (American)
Led a group through the Cumberland Gap to found Kentucky
1791 – 1795
George Vancouver (English)
Explored Canada
1794 – 1806
Mungo Park (Scottish)
Explored West Africa
1799 – 1805
Alexander Von Humboldt (German)
Explored Central and South America
1802 April – 1803 June
Matthew Flinders (English)
Circumnavigated Australia
1804 May – 1806 September
Merriwether Lewis and William Clark (American)
Explored and mapped the American West
1804 November – 1806
Sacagawea (Native American)
Guide and interpreter for Lewis and Clark
1841 – 1873
David Livingstone (English)
Pioneer, missionary and explorer in Africa
1845 – 1853
Francis Galton (English)
Travelled the Nile region and explored South-West Africa
1860 August – 1861 February
Robert Burke (Irish) and William Wills (English)
Crossed Australia from South to North
1901 – 1922
Ernest Shackleton (Irish)
Explored Antarctica
1909 6th April
Robert Peary and Matthew Henson (American)
First to reach the North Pole
1911 14th December
Roald Amundson (Norwegian)
Reached the South Pole
1912 17th January
Robert Falcon Scott (English)
Second person to reach the South Pole
1929 29th November
Richard Byrd
First to fly an aircraft over the South Pole.
1947 April 28 – 7th July
Thor Heyerdahl (Norwegian)
Explored Polynesian islands on the Kon-Tiki raft
1953 29th May
Edmund Hillary (New Zealand) and Tenzing Norgay (Nepalese)
First to climb Mount Everest
1948 – 1990
Jacques Cousteau (French)
Pioneered underwater exploration
1961 12th April
Yuri Gagarin (Russian)
First human in Space
1963 16th June
Valentina Tereshkova (Russian)
First woman in Space
1969 20th July
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin (American)
First men on the Moon
1969 – 2013
Ranulph Fiennes (English)
Explorer of remote regions including North Pole, South Pole, Antarctica, Arabian Desert, The Nile, Mount Everest
1970 – 1986
Reinhold Messner (Italian)
First man to climb all 14 mountains over 8,000 metres in height
1977 – present
Robert Ballard (American)
Pioneer in deep sea exploration, found and explored Titanic, Bismark, Lusitania and other shipwrecks, explored the sea bed
1978 8th May
Reinhold Messner (Italian) and Peter Habeler (Austrian)
First men to climb Everest without Oxygen


Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2015). Explorers and Exploration 325 BCE to Present Day. Available: https://www.totallytimelines.com/explorers-and-exploration-325-bce-to-presnet-day. Last accessed June 17th, 2019


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