10 Greatest Travellers and Explorers of All Times

Since time immemorial, human beings have travelled far and wide, discovering more of the world, experiencing the unknown and often embracing new cultures and customs of those they encountered. While many of these discoveries have been lost in time, there are travellers and explorers, who have gained permanent places in human history for their discoveries. Here, we pay tribute to 10 of these brave souls:

Christopher Columbus (1451 – 1506)

The gallant Italian explorer made 4 groundbreaking trips to the Americas, crossing the uncharted Atlantic Ocean without any of the specialised tools of navigation that are considered standard issue these days. Without the bravery and resourcefulness of this intrepid adventurer, the United States would probably be quite different from the way we know it today.

Vasco da Gama (1469 – 1524)

The legendary Portuguese explorer became the first European to travel to India by sea, when he reached Calicut in 1498, sailing around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. His arrival indicated that there were other countries across the ocean, a fact unknown to the Indian kings of the region until then.

David Livingstone (1813-1872)

A legendary Victorian missionary, Livingstone explored a large section of the continent of Africa, and revealed many of the secrets of the continent to the outside world. He wished to locate the source of the river Nile and spent years exploring the heart of the continent, looking for it.

Marco Polo (1254 – 1324)

A Venetian explorer who made several trips to China and other parts of Asia, Polo maintained detailed accounts of his journeys in lucid language. His writings helped Europeans establish trade relations with Asian countries and are often said to have acted as inspiration for other brave adventurers like Christopher Columbus.

Roald Amundsen (1872 – 1928)

A Norwegian explorer, Amundsen is well known as one of the key figures in the history of polar exploration. Having explored a significant section of the Antarctic in 1910-12, this braveheart went on to become the first person to successfully reach the North Pole, as well.

James Cook (1728 – 1779)

A British explorer, Cook made a series of groundbreaking voyages over the Pacific Ocean, to explore the Eastern Coast of Australia. He is also credited with chartering the islands on the Pacific, from Hawaii to New Zealand.

Robert Fitzroy (1805-1865)

A true child prodigy when it came to sailing, Fitzroy earned his commission as a lieutenant in the British Royal Navy at the age of 19, scoring an unbelievable 100% in all examinations. Shortly after gaining independent command of the Beagle, he accompanied none other than Charles Darwin on his legendary survey of the Galapagos Islands.

Sir Francis Drake (1540 – 1597)

Widely known to be the second explorer to circumnavigate the world, Drake was an intrepid adventurer and a soldier. His many exploits and bravery earned him a Knighthood from Queen Elizabeth I in 1581. He also participated in the British war against the formidable Spanish Armada in 1588, as the second in command of the British Navy.

Sir Walter Raleigh (1552 – 1618)

A legendary explorer who devoted his life to finding the elusive El Dorado, Raleigh made several trips to the Americas during his lifetime. He was granted a royal patent to explore Virginia, a rare grant given only to the most celebrated individuals by the British royalty.

Leif Eriksson (970-1020)

While Christopher Columbus is known to be the first adventurer to explore the Americas, Eriksson is considered to be the first European to reach it. Believed to have been born in Iceland, he supposedly reached the lands across the Atlantic around 500 years before Columbus.

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