List of female explorers and travelers

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The female explorer and traveller Gertrude Bell in Iraq, 1909.

This is a list of women who explored or travelled the world in a pioneering way. The list may include women sailors, mountain climbers, dog sledders, swimmers, pilots, and underwater explorers. Astronauts are not included here but in the list of female astronauts.

Name Born Died Achievement/s
Harriet Chalmers Adams 1875 1937 Explored and photographed South America, Asia, South Pacific
Dominick Arduin 1960 2004 Disappeared on her attempt to become the first woman to ski alone to the North Pole
Ann Bancroft 1955 First woman to travel over the ice cap to the North and South Poles
Jeanne Baré 1740 1807 First woman (disguised as a man) to circumnavigate the world
Jean Batten 1909 1982 First person to fly between England and New Zealand solo - broke other records
Gertrude Bell 1868 1926 Explored and mapped Greater Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Arabia
Isabella Bird 1831 1904 Explorer, writer and naturalist who travelled by herself through North America, Hawaii, Japan, Korea, China, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Persia, Kurdistan, Turkey, and Morocco.
Nancy Bird-Walton 1915 2009 Australian aviation pioneer
Nellie Bly 1864 1922 Pioneering journalist who travelled around the world in 72 days, the first person to do so.
Louise Boyd 1887 1972 Explored Greenland and the Arctic
Susan Butcher 1954 2006 Dog musher in Alaska
Calamity Jane 1852 1903 American frontierswoman and professional scout, known for her claim of being an acquaintance of Wild Bill Hickok and for fighting Indians
Renata Chlumska 1973 Climbed Mount Everest, kayaked and bicycled around lower 48 states of USA
Krystyna Chojnowska-Liskiewicz 1936 First woman to sail solo around the world
Kay Cottee 1954 First woman to sail solo, non-stop around the world
Octavie Coudreau c.1870 c.1910 Early explorer and geographer of the Amazon region in Brazil and French Guiana
Aimée Crocker 1864 1941 Heiress, writer spent a decade exploring the Far East in the 1890s. Toured the interior of Java and Borneo.
Sophia Danenberg 1972 First black woman to reach summit of Mount Everest
Alexandra David-Néel 1868 1969 Travelled to Tibet while closed to foreigners
Laura Dekker 1995 Youngest person to sail around world solo
Lady Hay Drummond-Hay 1895 1946 First woman to circumnavigate the world by air (by Zeppelin)
Edith Durham 1863 1944 Explored Albania and the Balkans
Amelia Earhart 1897 1937 First woman to fly solo across Atlantic
Isabelle Eberhardt 1877 1904 Swiss explorer and writer in Algeria, who converted to Islam and traveled freely dressed as a man
Gertrude Ederle 1905 2003 First woman to swim English Channel
Barbara Hillary 1931 First African American woman to reach North Pole
Amy Johnson 1903 1941 Pioneering aviator who set long-distance flying records
Osa Johnson 1894 1953 Made films of and wrote books about travels in Africa, South Pacific, Borneo
Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner 1970 First woman to climb all fourteen eight-thousander mountains without supplementary oxygen
Mary Kingsley 1862 1900 Ethnographer and explorer of West Africa
Annie "Londonderry" Kopchovsky 1870 1947 First woman to bicycle around the world
Ida Pfeiffer 1797 1858 Travelled alone around the world in 1847, published books of her numerous travels
Wanda Rutkiewicz 1943 1992 Polish mountain climber, the first woman to successfully summit K2
Kira Salak 1971 Travelled in Mali and Papua New Guinea
Annemarie Schwarzenbach 1908 1942 Journalist and photographer, travelled to Iran, Afghanistan, Africa
Annie Smith Peck 1850 1935 First person to climb Mount Nevado Huascarán in the Andes
Hester Stanhope 1776 1839 Conducted first modern archaeology in Holy Land; travelled dressed as a man (unveiled)
Freya Stark 1893 1993 Travelled within and wrote about the Middle East, including the Arabian deserts, Afghanistan
Rosie Swale-Pope 1946 Has run, walked and sailed around the world
Junko Tabei 1939 First woman to reach summit of Mount Everest
Annie Edson Taylor 1838 1921 First person to survive a trip over the Niagara Falls in a barrel
Alexandrine Tinné 1835 1869 Dutch explorer in Africa and the first European woman to attempt to cross the Sahara
Jessica Watson 1993 Youngest person to sail non-stop and unassisted around the world (but did not fulfil WSSRC criteria)
Meagan McGrath 1980 First Canadian (male or female) to ski unassisted to the South Pole.
Fanny Bullock Workman 1859 1925 American cartographer, explored glaciers in Himalayas

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