Age of Exploration Timeline by: Daniel Bodiford



1800 B.C. - 250 A.D.

noted for Maya script, the only known fully developed writing system of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems.

Marco Polo


Marco Polo was one of the first and most famous Europeans to travel to Asia during the Middle Ages. He traveled farther than any of his predecessors during his 24-year journey along the Silk Road, reaching China and Mongolia.


1325 - 1521

The Aztecs were an American Indian people of central Mexico, best known as the builders of an empire that swiftly fell under Spanish control during the years 1519 to 1521.


1380 - 1570

One of the Inca civilization's most famous surviving archaeological sites is Machu Picchu, which was built as a retreat for an Incan emperor. The Incas called their empire Tawantinsuyu, the “Land of the Four Corners,” and its official language was Quechua.

Prince Henry the Navigator

1394 - 1460

a 15th century Portuguese prince, Henry the Navigator was born in Porto, Portugal, in 1394. ... Henry is regarded as an originator of the Age of Discovery and the Atlantic slave trade.

John Cabot

1450 - 1499

He made a voyage in 1497 on the ship Matthew and claimed land in Canada—mistaking it for Asia—for King Henry VII of England.

Bartholomew Dias

1450 - 1500

Portuguese explorer. He sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, reaching the Indian Ocean from the Atlantic, the first European known to have done so.

Affonso de Albuquerque

1453 - 1515

Afonso de Albuquerque, Duke of Goa, was a Portuguese general, a "great conqueror", a statesman, and an empire builder.


1466 - 1520

He was known for being the Aztec king.

Pedro Cabral

1467 - 1520

Pedro Álvares Cabral (1467-1520) was a Portuguese nobleman, explorer, and navigator who was the first European to see Brazil (on April 22, 1500). Cabral's patron was King Manuel I of Portugal, who sent him on an expedition to India. Cabral's 13 ships left on March 9, 1500, following the route of Vasco da Gama.

Vasco da Gama

1469 - 1524

Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach India by sea.

Vasco Nunez de Balboa

1475 - 1519

e is best known for having crossed the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean in 1513, becoming the first European to lead an expedition to have seen or reached the Pacific from the New World.

Francisco Pizarro

1476 - 1532

He is known for founding the city of Lima and for killing Atauhaupa/ conquering the Incas

Bartalome de las casas

1484 - 1566

was a 16th-century Spanish historian, social reformer and Dominican friar. He became the first resident Bishop of Chiapas, and the first officially appointed "Protector of the Indians".

Jacques Cartier

1491 - 1557

was sent by King Francis I to the New World in search of riches and a new route to Asia in 1534. His exploration of the St. Lawrence River allowed France to lay claim to lands that would become Canada.

Christopher Columbus travels to America instead

1492 CE

He and his sailors crossed the Atlantic Ocean, not knowing where they would land. He landed in the Americas, explored and settled there.

Hernando de Soto

1500 - 1542

While on Francisco Pizarro's expedition, de Soto helped conquer Peru. In 1539 he set out for North America, where he discovered the Mississippi River.


1502 - 1533

HE was known for being the Emperor of the Incas

Francis Xavier

1506 - 1552

Xavier devoted himself to religious service and became one of the founders of the Jesuit order.

Francisco Vasquez de Coronado

1510 - 1554

Spanish explorer of the North American Southwest whose expeditions resulted in the discovery of many physical landmarks, including the Grand Canyon

Hernando Cortez


He is known for leading the Spanish conquest of Aztec Empire

Ferdinand Magellan


In search of fame and fortune, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan (c. 1480-1521) set out from Spain in 1519 with a fleet of five ships to discover a western sea route to the Spice Islands. En route he discovered what is now known as the Strait of Magellan and became the first European to cross the Pacific Ocean.

Henry Hudson

1565 - 1611

made his first voyage west from England in 1607, when he was hired to find a shorter route to Asia from Europe through the Arctic Ocean. After twice being turned back by ice, Hudson embarked on a third voyage–this time on behalf of the Dutch East India Company–in 1609.

Samuel de Champlain

1574 - 1635

Samuel de Champlain was a French explorer and cartographer best known for establishing and governing the settlements of New France and the city of Quebec.

John Smith

1580 - 1631

He is famous for his role in the exploration of the New World and is responsible for the settlement and survival of Jamestown, England's first permanent colony in America.

Louis Joliet Marquette & Louis Joliet

1645 - 1700

French Canadian explorer known for his discoveries in North America. Jolliet and Jesuit Father Jacques Marquette, a Catholic priest and missionary, were the first non-Natives to explore and map the Mississippi River in 1673.