Explorer Biographies


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Descriptions of the motives and routes of exploration for twelve explorers.

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Explorer Biographies

  1. 1. Christopher Columbus <ul><li>sailor </li></ul><ul><li>Sponsored by King Ferdinand & Queen Isabella of Spain </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted to find a route to Asia by sailing west across the Atlantic Ocean </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted to find riches for Spain </li></ul><ul><li>Sailed from 1492 – 1506 </li></ul><ul><li>Left Spain & sailed west across the Atlantic Ocean to San Salvador in the Caribbean Sea </li></ul><ul><li>Captured Native Americans </li></ul>OTHER INFORMATION – He died in 1506 & never knew that he had found new land. He took 4 voyages – exploring Cuba & the coasts of South & Central America.
  2. 2. John Cabot <ul><li>merchant/shopkeeper </li></ul><ul><li>Sponsored by King Henry VII of England (merchant-funded) </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted to find the East Indies by sailing west across the Atlantic Ocean </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted to find new land for England </li></ul><ul><li>Sailed from 1497 - 1498 </li></ul><ul><li>Left Bristol, England and traveled around the coast of Ireland then north and west across the Atlantic Ocean to the eastern coast of Canada </li></ul>OTHER INFORMATION – On his 2 nd voyage he explored the coast of North America as far south as Chesapeake Bay. His ship sank & he never knew he had reached new land.
  3. 3. Juan Ponce de Leon <ul><li>soldier </li></ul><ul><li>Sponsored by King Ferdinand & of Spain </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted the glory of finding the “fountain of youth” in Florida </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted to find gold & wealth for Spain </li></ul><ul><li>Sailed from 1506 - 1521 </li></ul><ul><li>Sailed from Hispaniola to Puerto Rico to Florida </li></ul><ul><li>Killed many Native Americans & led soldiers to conquer Puerto Rico (became governor) </li></ul>OTHER INFORMATION – He traveled on Columbus’ 2 nd voyage. He settled in Hispanola and later returned to Florida (in 1521) to start a settlement. He was eventually killed by Native Americans.
  4. 4. Hernan Cortes <ul><li>nobleman </li></ul><ul><li>Spain (lived in Cuba) </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted to take Mexico as Spanish territory </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted to find gold/riches for Spain </li></ul><ul><li>Sailed from 1519 - 1521 </li></ul><ul><li>Left Cuba for Mexico </li></ul><ul><li>Conquered the Aztec Empire </li></ul>OTHER INFORMATION – 1519 – invaded Tenochtitlan when the Aztecs believed Queztalcoatl would come
  5. 5. Jacques Cartier <ul><li>Experienced sailor & navigator </li></ul><ul><li>King Francis I of France </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted to find the legendary Northwest Passage to China through North America </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted to find riches for Spain </li></ul><ul><li>Sailed from 1534 - 1542 </li></ul><ul><li>sailed west across the Atlantic Ocean to Newfoundland and up the St. Lawrence River </li></ul><ul><li>Used Native Americans as guides up the St. Lawrence River </li></ul>OTHER INFORMATION – claimed land around the St. Lawrence River for France (1 st French claim) & named the St. Lawrence River.
  6. 6. Francisco Coronado <ul><li>nobleman </li></ul><ul><li>Sponsored by Spain (funding provided by his rich wife & the governor of Mexico) </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted to find the Seven Cities of Gold in Cibola (now New Mexico) </li></ul><ul><li>Sought gold & fortune </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted to claim more land in North America </li></ul><ul><li>Sailed from 1540 – 1542 </li></ul><ul><li>Explored from Mexico to “the Seven Cities of Cibola” to Kansas </li></ul><ul><li>Treated Native Americans cruelly & converted them to Christianity </li></ul>OTHER INFORMATION – Found the Grand Canyon & the Rio Grande valley, but no gold. The kind of Spain thought he was a failure.
  7. 7. Henry Hudson <ul><li>English sea captain </li></ul><ul><li>Sponsored by the Dutch East India Company (Holland/the Netherlands) </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted to claim land for the Netherlands & to sail to China across the top of Europe (near the Arctic Circle) </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted to find the Northwest Passage </li></ul><ul><li>Sailed from 1609 - 1610 </li></ul><ul><li>Sailed north towards the Arctic Circle then west across the Atlantic Ocean to Maine then Hudson Bay </li></ul><ul><li>Claimed eastern Canada for England </li></ul>OTHER INFORMATION – He drew the first map of Hudson Bay. Hudson Bay & the Hudson River were named after him. The Dutch settled the Hudson Valley.
  8. 8. Robert Sieur de la Salle <ul><li>French nobleman & fur trader along the St. Lawrence River </li></ul><ul><li>Sponsored by France – King Louis XIV wouldn’t fund, so the governor of Montreal paid) </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted personal wealth & to establish trading posts, forts, & settlements for the French Empire </li></ul><ul><li>Sailed from 1667 - 1684 </li></ul><ul><li>Explored the Ohio River and traveled the Mississippi River </li></ul><ul><li>Learned Native American languages </li></ul>OTHER INFORMATION – He named Louisiana for the French King. He was killed by his men who thought he’d gone crazy.
  9. 9. Vasco Nunez de Balboa <ul><li>Explorer then farmer </li></ul><ul><li>Sponsored by Spain </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted personal wealth & was avoiding having to repay his debts (stowed away on board ship) </li></ul><ul><li>Searched for the Inca </li></ul><ul><li>Explored in 1500 </li></ul><ul><li>Hispaniola (west Indies) to western coast of Panama </li></ul><ul><li>Was friendly towards the Native Americans & married a chief’s daughter </li></ul>OTHER INFORMATION – He established the colony of Darien and became its governor. He found the Pacific Ocean and named it the South Sea.
  10. 10. Ferdinand Magellan <ul><li>Portuguese sea captain (son of a nobleman) & soldier </li></ul><ul><li>Sponsored by King Charles V of Spain </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted to circumnavigate the globe (sail around the world by traveling west across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans) </li></ul><ul><li>Sailed from 1519 - 1522 </li></ul><ul><li>Left Spain & sailed to South America through the Strait of Magellan to the Phillipines and then on to the East Indies and Spain </li></ul><ul><li>Killed by Native Americans in the Phillipines </li></ul>OTHER INFORMATION – Discovered the Strait of Magellan at the southern tip of South America. On the expedition, men had to eat leather, sawdust, and rats to survive. Many got scurvy on the trip.
  11. 11. Amerigo Vespucci <ul><li>Nobleman & merchant </li></ul><ul><li>Sponsored by King Ferdinand & Queen Isabella of Spain </li></ul><ul><li>Sent to retrace Columbus’ voyage & to see exactly what lands he’d explored. </li></ul><ul><li>Also took notes on navigation & astronomy </li></ul><ul><li>Sailed from 1499 - 1500 </li></ul><ul><li>Sailed west across the Atlantic & north up the Atlantic coast. On the 2 nd voyage sailed south along the same coastline </li></ul>OTHER INFORMATION – He eventually realized that the land Columbus had found was too far north to be the Indies – America was named after him.
  12. 12. Samuel de Champlain <ul><li>Sailor & royal geographer </li></ul><ul><li>Sponsored by King Henry IV of France </li></ul><ul><li>Wanted to turn French claims in Canada into a permanent colony for France </li></ul><ul><li>Explored from 1603 - 1609 </li></ul><ul><li>Took over a dozen trips to Canada & discovered Quebec & Lake Champlain </li></ul><ul><li>Helped the Algonquin & Huron fight the Iroquois </li></ul>OTHER INFORMATION – He was called the “Father of New France.” He wrote a book called The Voyages & was held as an English prisoner during the French & Indian War.