European Explorers

Names and lives of the major European Explorers.

Portugese Explorers

Explorers who sailed for and claimed land for Portugal.

Prince Henry

1425 - 1460

1425-1460 Prince Henry the Navigator trains Portuguese sailors to go exploring.

Bartolomeu Dias

1488

1488 Sailed around the southern tip of Africa

Vasco de Gama

1498

1498 Sailed around Africa to India

Spanish Explorers

Explorers who sailed and conquered land for Spain.

Christopher Columbus

1492

1492 Landed in North America (the Bahamas)

Amerigo Vespucci

1501

1501 Sailed to eastern South America

Vasco Nunez de Balboa

1513

1513 Crossed the Isthmus of Panama

Juan Ponce de Leon

1513

1513 Explored Florida

Ferdinand Magellan

1519 - 1522

1519-1522 Led first expedition around the world.

Hernando Cortez

1521

1521 Conquered the Aztecs

Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca

1528

1528 Explored the area now known as Texas

Francisco Pizarro

1533

1533 Defeated the Inca

Francisco Vasquez de Coronado

1540

1540 Explored the southwestern part of North America

Hernando de Soto

1540

1540 Explored southeastern North America, first to reach the Mississippi River

English Explorers

All explorers that sailed for and conquered land for England.

John Cabot

1497

Reached North America in 1497

Sir Francis Drake

1577 - 1580

1577-1580 Sails around the world capturing gold from Spanish ships

Sir Walter Raleigh

1585

1585 Starts the first colony in North America on Roanoke Island in present day North Carolina.

French Explorers

Men who sailed for France

Giovanni de Varrazano

1524

1524 Reached the mouth of the Hudson River

Jacques Cartier

1534

1534 Reached Canada

Samuel de Champlain

1603

1603 Explored the St. Lawrence River
1608 Founded Quebec

Other Explorers

Vikings, Italians, and Dutch explorers

Leif Erikson

1000

1000 First European to land in and start a colony in North America

Marco Polo

1271 - 1295

1271 Started his travels on the Silk Road to China

Henry Hudson

1609

1609 Explored the Hudson River