Exploration is the act of searching or traveling around a terrain (including space, see space exploration) for the purpose of discovery of resources or information; Exploration occurs in all non-sessile animal species, including humans. In human history, its peak is arguably seen during the Age of Discovery for Europe's contact with the rest of the world, and major explorations after the Age of Discovery for scientific exploration in the modern era.
Other uses 
The term may also be used metaphorically, for example persons may speak of exploring the internet, sexuality, etc. In scientific research, exploration is one of three purposes of empirical research (the other two being description and explanation). Exploration is the attempt to develop an initial, rough understanding of some phenomenon.
Notable explorers 
1550 BCE to 500 BCE 
- The Phoenicians (1550 BCE–300 BCE) traded throughout the Mediterranean Sea and Asia Minor; many of their routes are still unknown today. The presence of tin in some Phoenician artifacts suggests that they may have traveled to Britain. Some scientists speculate that they voyaged all the way to Central America, although this is disputed. According to Virgil's Aeneid and other ancient sources, the legendary Queen Dido was a Phoenician from Asia Minor who sailed to North Africa and founded the city of Carthage.
5th century BC 
4th century BC 
3rd century BC 
- Xu Fu (b. 255 BC) – Chinese court sorcerer who led two voyages to the Eastern Seas in 219 BC and 210 BC.
2nd century BC 
1st century 
5th century 
8th century 
10th century 
13th century 
14th century 
15th century 
16th century 
- Vasco Núñez de Balboa (c. 1475–1519) – Spanish explorer and discoverer of the Pacific Ocean. The first European to cross the Isthmus of Panama and view the Pacific ocean from American shores.
- Francisco Pizarro (c. 1475–1541) – Spanish explorer. Conquered the Inca Empire.
- Juan Sebastián Elcano (1476–1526) – Spanish explorer. Completed the first circumnavigation of the globe in a single expedition after its captain, Magellan, was killed.
- Ferdinand Magellan (1480–1521) – Portuguese explorer for Spain. Initiated the first circumnavigation of the globe in a single expedition. Sailed through Strait of Magellan and named Pacific Ocean. Died in the Philippines after claiming them for Spain.
- Giovanni da Verrazzano (c. 1485–1528) – Italian explorer for France. Explored the northeast coast of America, from about present day South Carolina to Newfoundland.
- Hernán Cortés (1485–1545) – Spanish explorer. Conquered the Aztec Empire for Spain.
- Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (c. 1488–1557) – Spanish explorer of the New World, one of four survivors of the Narváez expedition.
- García Jofre de Loaísa (1490–1526) - Spanish explorer. First navigator to sail from Europe to the Western coast of North America. Crossed the Pacific Ocean from Mexico, exploring the Philippines and Spice Islands. His expedition was the second to circumnavigate the world (after Magellan and Elcano in 1522) though Loaísa died before completing it.
- Jacques Cartier (1491–1557) – French explorer. Discovered Canada.
- Hernando de Soto (c. 1496–1542) – Spanish explorer. Explored Florida, mainly northwest Florida, and discovered the Mississippi River.
- Andrés de Urdaneta (1498–1568) was a Spanish circumnavigator, explorer and Augustinian friar. As a navigator he achieved the second world circumnavigation in 1536, and discovered the eastern maritime path across the Pacific (from Asia to America) also known as Urdaneta's Route or tornaviaje (Spanish).
- Nikolaus Federmann (c. 1505–1542), German adventurer and conquistador in the colonies of Venezuela and Colombia
- João Rodrigues Cabrilho (Spanish: Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo; ca. 1499 – January 3, 1543) was a Portuguese explorer noted for his exploration of the west coast of North America on behalf of Spain. Cabrillo was the first European explorer to navigate the coast of present day California in the United States. He helped found the city of Oaxaca, in Mexico
- Francisco Vásquez de Coronado (c. 1510–1554) – Spanish explorer. Searched for the Seven Cities of Gold and discovered the Grand Canyon in the process.
- Diogo Rodrigues (c.1510-1577) - Portuguese explorer. The discovery of Rodrigues Island, Governor of Salsete, Captain of Rachol - Goa.
- Francisco de Orellana (1511–1546) – Spanish explorer, in 1541–42 sailed the length of the Amazon River.
- Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa (1532–1592) – Spanish explorer of the Pacific.
- Yermak Timofeyevich (c. 1532-1585) - Russian cossack leader and explorer. Conquered the Khanate of Siberia.
- Sir Francis Drake (c. 1540–1596) – English explorer. The first English captain to sail around the world and survive. Second European to explore the West Coast of North America North of Baja and as far North as Drake's Bay.
- Alvaro de Mendaña de Neyra (1541–1596) – Spanish explorer of the Pacific. His first expedition in 1567 discovered Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands, and his second expedition (1595) discovered the Marquesas Islands.
- Yñigo Ortiz de Retez (1545-?) was a Spanish maritime explorer. His expedition crossed the Pacific from South America reaching the northern coastline of New Guinea bestowing the island's name (Nueva Guinea in Spanish).
- Willem Barentsz (1550–1597) – Dutch navigator and explorer, leader of early expeditions to the far north.
- Pedro Páez (1564–1622) – Spanish missionary was the first European who saw and described the source of the Blue Nile.
17th century 
18th century 
- Vitus Bering (1681–1741) – Danish explorer. Explored the Siberian Far East and Alaska and claimed it for Russia.
- Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (May 26, 1689 – August 21, 1762) – explored Turkey.
- Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778) – Swedish biologist. His six month expedition to Lapland in 1732 described about one hundred previously unknown plants.
- Juan José Pérez Hernández (1725-1775) - Spanish explorer. First European to sail the American Pacific Northwest.
- James Cook (1728–1779) – British naval commander. Explored much of the Pacific including New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii.
- Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse (23 August 1741 – ?1788) – French naval captain. Lapérouse was appointed in 1785 by Louis XVI and his minister of marine, Charles Eugène Gabriel de La Croix, marquis de Castries, to lead an expedition around the world. He vanished in Oceania with the remains of his expedition being found later in 1826 at the island of Vanikoro, which is part of the Santa Cruz group of islands. Lapérouse was a significant French figure of the Age of Enlightenment.
- Esteban Jose Martinez (1742-1798) - Spanish explorer and navigator. Played a key role in the exploration of the Pacific Northwest. He established the first Spanish settlement in the region: Santa Cruz de Nuca on Nootka Sound in Vancouver Island.
- Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra (1744-1794) - Spanish navigator. Explored the Northwest Coast of America as far north as present day Alaska. Vancouver Island was originally named "Quadra and Vancouver Island" after Bodega y Quadra and George Vancouver.
- Alessandro Malaspina (1754–1810) – Italian explorer. Explored the Pacific and the west coast of North America in the service of Spanish Crown.
- Salvador Fidalgo (1756-1803) - Spanish navigator and explorer of the Pacific Northwest. His expedition explored northern Canada and Alaska including Cordova Bay and Port Valdez in Prince William Sound, as well as Kodiak Island and Nanwalek, southwest of Anchorage.
- Alexander MacKenzie (1764–1820) – Scottish-Canadian explorer who in 1789, looking for the Northwest Passage, followed the river now named after him to the Arctic Ocean and then in 1793 crossed the Rockies and reached the Pacific in 1793, thus beating Lewis and Clark by 12 years.
- José María Narváez (1768-1840) Spanish explorer and navigator, notable for his expeditions in the Pacific Northwest of present-day Canada. He was the first Spaniard to make contact with a large contingent of Russians in Alaska.
- Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) – German explorer and scientist whose work was foundational to the field of biogeography.
- Mungo Park (1771–1806) – the first Westerner to discover the Niger River; he was the first Western explorer to reach Timbuktu, though he didn't live to share his discovery with the world.
19th century 
- Ivan Krusenstern (1770-1846) - Russian explorer, who led the first Russian circumnavigation of the Earth.
- Captain Meriwether Lewis (1774–1809) – American explorer and field scientist who led the Lewis and Clark Expedition into the Louisiana Purchase and the Pacific Northwest in 1804–1806.
- Matthew Flinders (1774-1814) - Australian explorer and cartographer. First person to circumnavigate Australia.
- Sir John Franklin (1786-1847) – British explorer, surveyed the coast of the Polar Sea between 1819 and 1824; died on his final Arctic expedition in 1845.
- Mikhail Lazarev (1788-1851) - Russian fleet commander and explorer who discovered Antarctica.
- Edward Sabine(October 14, 1788 – May 26, 1883) – Irish participant in the Ross and Perry Arctic expeditions.
- Sacagawea (c. 1788 – December 20, 1812) – accompanied and assisted Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–1806), the first American overland expedition to the Pacific coast and back.
- Thomas Coulter (1793–1843) – Irish botanist and explorer of Mexico and Arizona.
- Charles Wilkes (April 3, 1798 – February 8, 1877) – American naval officer and explorer who commanded the United States Exploring Expedition.
- George Fletcher Moore (10 December 1798 – 30 December 1886) – early Irish explorer of Australia.
- Pierre-Jean De Smet (1801–1873) – Belgian missionary and explorer in North America.
- David Livingstone (1813–1873) – Scottish missionary and explorer in central Africa. He was the first European to see Victoria Falls, which he named in honour of Queen Victoria.
- John Rae (1813–1893) – Scottish doctor in Northern Canada. He discovered a Northwest Passage and reported the fate of the Franklin Expedition.
- Robert O'Hara Burke (1821 – c. 28 June 1861) – Irish leader of the Burke and Wills expedition.
- Richard Francis Burton (1821–1890) – English explorer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, ethnologist, linguist, poet, hypnotist, fencer and diplomat; known for his travels and explorations within Asia and Africa as well as his extraordinary knowledge of languages and cultures; according to one count, he spoke 29 European, Asian, and African languages.
- Pyotr Semenov-Tyan-Shansky (1827 – 1914) - Russian geographer and explorer. He discovered the Altay Mountains and Tian Shan.
- Isabella Bird (October 15, 1831 – October 7, 1904) – the first woman inducted into the Royal Geographical Society; she travelled extensively, exploring the Far East, Central Asia, and the American West.
- Nikolai Przhevalsky (1839—1888) - Russian geographer and explorer of Central and Eastern Asia.
- Henry Morton Stanley (1841–1904) – Welsh journalist and explorer in central Africa best remembered for his search for David Livingstone, and upon finding him saying: "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"
- Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza (1852–1905) - Franco-Italian explorer and colonial administrator, known for his humanitarian principles and egalitarian treatment of native workers in French Equatorial Africa. He founded the city later named Brazzaville in his honor.
- Otto Sverdrup (1854–1930) – Norwegian explorer. Joined Fridtjof Nansen across Greenland in 1888 and captain on the Fram on the polar drift in 1893–1896 and the 2nd Fram expedition in 1898–1902. Mapped the northernmost part of Canada in 1898–1902.
- Harry De Windt (1856–1933) – British explorer and member of the Royal Geographical Society. Travelled overland from Paris to New York via Siberia in 1901–1902. Writer of books about his many expeditions.
- George Comer (1858–1937) – American polar explorer. The Comer Strait of northern Southampton Island and the Gallinula comeri flightless bird of Gough Island were named in his honor.
- Frederick Russell Burnham (1861-1947) - American explorer and Chief of Scouts in British Africa. He lead the massive Northern Territories (BSA) Exploration Co. expedition which first established for the British South Africa Company that major copper deposits existed in North-Eastern Rhodesia. In 1901, he lead an expedition through Ghana and Upper Volta to look for minerals and ways to improve river navigation in the region. He also made important archeological discoveries of Mayan civilization in Mexico, including the Esperanza Stone.
- Fridtjof Nansen (1861–1930) – Norwegian explorer, scientist and diplomat. He was the first to cross the Greenland ice cap in 1888, and he drifted across the Arctic Ocean aboard the Fram in 1893–1896, making an attempt to reach the North Pole with Hjalmar Johansen.
- Mary Kingsley (October 13, 1862 – June 3, 1900) – explored the Upper Ogawe River in Gabon and journeyed alone into unknown regions of the Congo jungle.
- Roald Amundsen (1872–1928) – Norwegian explorer. He led the first successful Antarctic expedition between 1910 and 1912. He was also the first ever person to successfully traverse the North West Passage.
- Ernest Shackleton (1874–1922) – Anglo-Irish Explorer, noted for his ill-fated Endurance expedition to Antarctica.
- Hiram Bingham III (1875–1956) – U.S. Senator from Connecticut and explorer best known for uncovering Machu Picchu.
- Robert Bartlett (1875–1946) – Newfoundland captain. Led over 40 expeditions to the Arctic, more than anyone before or since. Was the first to sail north of 88° N latitude.
- Tom Crean (20 July 1877 – 27 July 1938) – Irish Antarctic explorer.
- Knud Rasmussen (1879–1933) – Greenlandic polar explorer and anthropologist. Rasmussen was the first to cross the Northwest Passage via dog sled.
- Auguste Piccard (1884–1962) – physicist, balloonist, hydronaut. Explored the stratosphere and the deep sea.
- Mulford B. Foster (1888–1978) – American horticulturist known for extensive plant explorations of South America. Collected thousands of species of plants for the Gray Herbarium of Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution. Discovered more new species of bromeliads than the previous plants explorers Andre and Glaziou.
- Richard Evelyn Byrd (1888–1957) - US naval officer whose expeditions may have been the first to reach the North Pole and the South Pole by air.
- Ahmed Pasha Hassanein (1889–1946) – Egyptian explorer, diplomat, one of two non-European winners of Gold Medal of Royal Geographical Society in 1924, King's chamberlain, fencing participant to 1924 Olympics, photographer, author and discoverer of Jebel Uweinat, and writer of "The Lost Oases" book in three languages.
- Freya Stark (January 31, 1893, Paris, France – May 9, 1993) – not only one of the first Western women to travel through the Arabian deserts (Hadhramaut); she often traveled solo into areas where few Europeans, let alone women, had ever been.
20th century 
- Peter Gimbel, G. Brooks Baekeland and Peter Lake - parachuted into Peru's Cordillera Vilcabamba searching for the lost Inca city of Vilcabamba in 1963.
- Colonel Noel Andrew Croft (1906–1998) – held the record for the longest self-sustaining journey across the Arctic in the 1930s for 60 years.
- Eric Shipton (1908–1977) and Bill Tillman (1898–1977) – British climbing pair who pioneered alpine style mountaineering. Became the first to penetrate the Nanda Devi Sanctuary in India (later summited by Tillman). Shipton went on to lead early reconnaissances of Mount Everest while Tillman led deep-sea sailing explorations.
- Sir Edmund Percival Hillary (1919–2008) – New Zealand explorer, together with Tenzing Norgay, the first to climb Mount Everest on May 29, 1953.
- Jacques-Yves Cousteau (1910–1997) – French naval officer, explorer and early underwater pioneer. Instrumental in the development of scuba diving and of underwater marine research and explorations.
- Wilfred Thesiger (1910–2003) – British explorer and travel writer who explored remote areas of Africa, the Karakoram and the Middle East. Crossed the Empty Quarter of the Arabian peninsula twice on foot.
- Sir Wally Herbert (24 October 1934 – 12 June 2007) – British polar explorer who became the first to cross the Arctic Ocean across its longest axis (1968–69), and the first undisputed man to reach the North Pole on foot, on 6 April 1969.
- Yuri Gagarin (March 9, 1934 – March 27, 1968) – Soviet astronaut who on April 12, 1961 became the first man in space and the first human to orbit Earth.
- Neil Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012) – American astronaut – First human being to set foot on the Moon on July 20, 1969.
- Chris Bonington (b. August 6, 1934) – British climber and alpinist. Notable for daring first ascents in the Himalaya and Antarctica including Baintha Brakk and a first solo ascent in the Vinson Massif.
- Valentina Tereshkova (b. 1937) – one of the first people in space; first female astronaut.
- Robert Ballard (b. 1942) – undersea explorer; discovered the shipwreck of the RMS Titanic.
- Ranulph Fiennes (b. 7 March 1944) – British adventurer. First journey around the world on its polar axis using surface transport only, covered 52,000 miles and visited both poles by land. First unsupported crossing of Antarctica.
- Reinhold Messner (b. September 17, 1944) – Italian mountaineer, first man to climb all the 14 peaks higher than 8,000 meters (all without the use of supplemental oxygen).
- E. Lee Spence (b. 1947) – undersea explorer and pioneer underwater archaeologist: discovered numerous shipwrecks including H.L. Hunley the first submarine in history to sink an enemy ship; and the SS Georgiana, said to have been the most powerful Confederate cruiser.
- Robyn Davidson (b. September 6, 1950) – the first person to make a solo crossing of the Australian Outback by camel; she also explored the remote desert regions of India.
- Michael Asher (b. 1953) – British adventurer. In 1986–1987 Michael Asher and his wife, Italian-born photographer and Arabist, Mariantonietta Peru, made the first ever west-east crossing of the Sahara desert by camel and on foot.
- Liv Arnesen (b. June 1, 1953) – the first woman to ski solo and unassisted to the South Pole; she was also one of the two first women to cross the Antarctic continent.
- Conrad Anker (b. November 27, 1962) – American rock climber and alpinist. Notable for first ascents of challenging climbs in North America, Patagonia, Antarctica and the Himalaya.
- Peter Bray (b. 1957) – British explorer and former British SAS officer. Became the first person to kayak solo across the Atlantic without the assistance of a sail to help with paddling.
- Rory Stewart (b. 3 January 1973) – British explorer, travel writer and politician, who in 2001, crossed Afghanistan on foot in the opening months of the war as a part of a 6,000 kilometre trek across the Asian continent.
- Ed Stafford (b. 26 December 1975) – British explorer. Walked the entire length of the Amazon River.
- Kira Salak (b. September 4, 1971) – a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, Salak was the first woman to cross the island of New Guinea. Salak has done solo exploration to regions such as Borneo, Libya, Iran, Madagascar, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
See also 
Types of exploration 
- ^ Silkroad Foundation, Adela C.Y. Lee. "Ancient Silk Road Travellers". Silk-road.com. Retrieved 2012-01-17.
- ^ Battuta's Travels
- ^ Cardinal Moran's Discovery of Australia by de Quirós in the Year 1606 
- ^ Petringa, Maria (January 1997). "Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza". Harvard Magazine. Retrieved 31 March 2010.
- ^ Burnham, Frederick Russell (1899). "Northern Rhodesia". In Wills, Walter H. Bulawayo Up-to-date; Being a General Sketch of Rhodesia. Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co. pp. 177–180.
- ^ "A New Eldorado: Discoveries in West Africa by Major Burnham, England's American Scout" (PDF). The New York Times (London Mail). August 12, 1901. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 28, 2007.
- ^ Shippey, Lee (February 2, 1930). "Lee Side o' L.A.: Personal Glimpses of Famous Southlanders". The Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035.
- ^ Holder, Charles (1910). "The Esperanza Stone". Scientific American: 196.
- ^ Fort, Charles; Liveright, Horace (1919). [[The Book of the Damned]]. Horace Liveright. chap. XI. ISBN 978-1-870870-53-5.
- ^ Padilla, Victoria. "Mulford B. Foster". Journal of the Bromeliad Society, 1978. Vol 28, #6, pg 243–244
- ^ "A Bibliography of Plant Collectors in Bolivia" (PDF).
- ^ "The World of Ahmed Bey Hassanein". SaharaSafaris. 18 March 2007. Retrieved 31 March 2010.
- ^ "Robyn Davidson book".
- ^ "National Geographic Explorer Kira Salak".
- ^ Salak, Kira. "Kira Salak's official website".
Further reading 
External links