List of lost expeditions

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This is a list of lost expeditions.

List[edit]

Expeditions with all parties presumed lost[edit]

Name Leader Year lost Region Comments
Vivaldi expedition Vandino and Ugolino Vivaldi 1291 Morocco (North Africa) Republic of Genoa Genoese exploration voyage to find a sea route to India. It was one of the first recorded voyages to sail from the Mediterranean into the Atlantic Ocean since the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, and predated attempts by Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama by two centuries.
Abubakari expedition Abubakari II 1311 Atlantic Ocean Mali Mansa of the Mali Empire who abdicated his throne in order to explore "the limits of the ocean".
Ferrer Expedition Jaume Ferrer 1346 Cape Bojador (Western Sahara) Armoiries Majorque.svg Majorcan expedition to locate a fabled "river of gold" somewhere on the African continent.
Cabot's final expedition John Cabot 1499 Atlantic Ocean England English expedition to explore Newfoundland and eastern Canada.
Corte-Real expedition Gaspar Corte-Real 1501 Labrador (Canada) Portugal Portuguese expedition to discover the Northwest Passage. Part of the expedition, captained by Gaspar's brother Miguel Corte-Real, were sent back to Portugal and are the only known survivors from this expedition.
Corte-Real rescue expedition Miguel Corte-Real 1502 Atlantic Ocean Portugal Portuguese rescue mission to search for lost explorer Gaspar Corte-Real.
Knight expedition James Knight 1721 Marble Island (Canadian Arctic) United Kingdom British expedition to discover the Northwest Passage.
Lapérouse expedition Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse 1788 Victoria Strait (Oceana) France French expedition which vanished while attempting to sail around the world.
Houghton expedition Daniel Houghton 1791 Sahara (North Africa) United Kingdom British expedition to explore the Gambia River and the hinterland of Africa's west coast.
Bass expedition George Bass 1803 Pacific Ocean United Kingdom British expedition to Tahiti, and possibly to the Spanish colony of Chile, before returning to the Sydney colony.
Franklin's lost expedition John Franklin 1845 Victoria Strait (Canadian Arctic) United Kingdom British expedition to traverse the last unnavigated section of the Northwest Passage.
Leichhardt expedition Ludwig Leichhardt 1848 McPherson's Station, Coogoon (Western Australia) United Kingdom British expedition to explore northern and central Australia.
Vogel expedition Eduard Vogel 1856 Wadai (Central Africa) United Kingdom British expedition to find a trade route to Asia that bypassed the Middle East. He was initially a party member of the Barth expedition but eventually left to go exploring on his own and disappeared a year later. In a visit to Wadai in 1873, Gustav Nachtigal was told that the Sultan of Wadai had ordered Vogel's death.
Terra Nova Expedition Robert Falcon Scott 1913 Antarctica United Kingdom British expedition to become the first to reach the geographical South Pole.
Rusanov expedition Vladimir Rusanov 1913 Kara Sea (Arctic) Russia Russian naval expedition to the Arctic to find the Northern Sea Route.
Fawcett expedition Percy Fawcett 1925 Dead Horse Camp (Brazil) United Kingdom British archaeological expedition to the Amazon to locate the "Lost City of Z".
Sea Dragon expedition Richard Halliburton 1939 near Midway Island (Pacific Ocean) United States American expedition attempting to sail a Chinese junk across the Pacific Ocean from Hong Kong to San Francisco for the Golden Gate International Exposition.

Expeditions with one or more surviving members[edit]

Name Leader Year lost Region Comments
Grindell expedition Thomas F. Grindell 1905 Sonoran Desert (Tiburón Island) United States American gold prospecting expedition that went missing while exploring Tiburón Island. They were widely believed to have been killed by Seri or Yaqui natives. However, the remains of Thomas Grindell were discovered by another group of explorers a year later. Of the five-man party, there were only two known survivors: Jack Hoffman and Papago guide Dolores Valenzuela.
Brusilov expedition Georgy Brusilov 1913 Kara Sea (Arctic) Russia Russian naval expedition to the Arctic to find the Northern Sea Route. There were only two known survivors: Valerian Albanov and Alexander Konrad.

References[edit]

  • Wright, Ed. Lost Explorers: Adventurers Who Disappeared Off The Face Of The Earth. Millers Point, Australia: Pier 9, 2008. ISBN 1-7419-6139-4

Further reading[edit]

  • Balkan, Evan. Vanished!: Explorers Forever Lost. Birmingham, Alabama: Menasha Ridge Press, 2008. ISBN 0-89732-983-X

External links[edit]