Ocean exploration

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Ocean exploration is a part of oceanography describing the exploration of ocean surfaces. Notable explorations were untaken by the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Polynesians, the Phoenicians, Phytheas, Herodotus, the Vikings, and the Portuguese. Scientific investigations began with such early scientists as James Cook, Charles Darwin and Edmund Halley. Ocean exploration itself coincided with the developments in shipbuilding, diving, navigation, depth, measurement, exploration and cartography.


Early exploration[edit]

  • 130,000 BC Researchers working on the island of Crete discover stone tools indicating ocean exploration capabilities of pre-human ancestors dating to at least 130,000 years ago [1]
  • 4500 BC Around this time, cultures like those in Greece and China began diving into the sea as a source of food gathering, commerce, and possibly even warfare.
  • 4000 BC Egyptians developed sailing vessels, which were probably used only in the eastern Mediterranean near the mouth of the Nile River.
  • 4000 BC - 1000 AD Polynesian colonization of South Pacific Islands.
  • 1800 BC Basic measuring of the depths is done in Egypt.
  • 1500 BC Middle Eastern peoples explored the Indian Ocean
  • 600 BC Phoenicians developed sea routes around the entire Mediterranean and into the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Going around Africa they reached England by sailing along the western European coast. Although they understood celestial navigation, they probably stayed within sight of land whenever possible.
  • 500-200 BC Greeks developed trade routes in the Mediterranean using the length of the day (corrected for the time of the year) to estimate latitude.
  • 450 BC Herodotus publishes a map of the Mediterranean region.
  • 325 BC Pytheas, a Greek astronomer and geographer, sailed north out of the Mediterranean, reaching England and possibly even Iceland and Norway. He also developed the use of sightings on the North Star to determine latitude.
  • c.240 BC Eratosthenes of Alexandria, Egypt determines fairly accurately the circumference of the Earth using angles of shadows in Syene and Alexandria.[2]
  • 150 AD Ptolemy produces a map of the Roman world, including lines of latitude and longitude, the continents of Asia, Europe, and Africa and the surrounding oceans.
  • 900-1430 Vikings explore and colonize Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland.
  • 1002 Leif Erikson reaches North America 500 years before Columbus.[2]
  • 1405-1433 Chinese send seven voyages to extend Chinese influence and impress their neighbor states. These expensive voyages are ended after a short time. See Zheng He (1371–1433).

From Age of Exploration to present[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Strasser, Thomas F.; Eleni Pangopoulou; Curtis N. Runnels; Priscilla M. Murray; Nicholas Thompson; Panayiotis Karkanas; Floyd W. McCoy; Karl W. Wegman (April–June 2010). "Stone Age Seafaring in the Mediterranean: Evidence from the Plakias Region for Lower Paleolithic and Mesolithic Habitation of Crete". Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens 79 (2): 145–190. 
  2. ^ a b Sverdrup, Keith A.; Alyn C. Duxbury; Alison B. Duxbury (2005). An Introduction to the World's Oceans. New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 4. ISBN 0-07-252807-9. 


External links[edit]