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A few hundred years ago, the known physical world was a lot smaller. With the discovery of the 'new world' (and its gold deposits), many Europeans were emboldened to find out more about what was out there and wasted no time launching ships and staking claims. Here are many of the more successful.
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Alexander Mackenzie

borndied
17641820, Mar 12
a Scottish explorer. He is known for his overland crossing of what is now Canada to reach the Pacific Ocean in 1793. This was the first east to west crossing of North America north of Mexico and preceded the Lewis and Clark expedition by 10 years.
Timeline (2)Links (1)


Ferdinand Magellan

borndied
14801521
a Portuguese explorer who organised the Spanish expedition to the East Indies from 1519 to 1522, resulting in the first circumnavigation of the Earth. Born into a wealthy Portuguese family in around 1480, Magellan became a skilled sailor and naval officer and was eventually selected by King Charles I of Spain to search for a westward route to the Maluku Isla...
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Timeline (9)Links (20)


Cross-listed in Naval

Alessandro Malaspina

borndied
1754, Nov 51810, Apr 9
an Italian explorer who spent most of his life as a Spanish naval officer. Under a Spanish royal commission, he undertook a voyage around the world from 1786 to 1788, then, from 1789 to 1794, a scientific expedition (the Malaspina Expedition) throughout the Pacific Ocean, exploring and mapping much of the west coast of the Americas from Cape Horn to the Gulf...
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Lourenço Marques

bornactivedied
unknown1540sunknown
a 16th-century Portuguese trader and explorer. Marques explored the area that is now Maputo Bay in 1544 and settled permanently in present-day Mozambique, where he spent most of his life with his black wife and mixed-race children. By order of King John III, Maputo Bay was named Baía de Lourenço Marques in his honour, although this name was never in common...
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Cross-listed in Clergy

Jacques Marquette

aka: Père Marquette, James, Jim
borndied
1637, Jun11675, May 18
a French Jesuit missionary who founded Michigan's first European settlement, Sault Ste. Marie, and later founded St. Ignace, Michigan. In 1673 Father Marquette and Louis Jolliet were the first Europeans to explore and map the northern portion of the Mississippi River.
Timeline (2)Links (1)


Cross-listed in Governance

Pedro Mascarenhas

bornactivedied
14701512-15551555, Jun 16
a Portuguese explorer and colonial administrator. He was the first European to discover the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in 1512. He also encountered the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius in 1512, although he may not have been the first Portuguese explorer to do so; earlier expeditions by Diogo Dias and Afonso de Albuquerque along with Diogo Fer...
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Links (1)


Cross-listed in Naval

John Minor Maury

borndied
17951824, Jun 23
a lieutenant in the United States Navy. What has been described as "a very interesting sketch" of his career was given by James Edmonds Saunders in his late 19th-century work Early Settlers of Alabama. John and other sailors (five killed by cannibals and two survived) had been marooned on the island of Nuku Hiva for two years surviving Cannibalism between th...
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Cross-listed in Scientists

Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied

aka: Alexander Philipp Maximilian zu Wied-Neuwied
borndied
1782, Sep 231867, Feb 3
a German explorer, ethnologist and naturalist. He led a pioneering expedition to southeast Brazil between 1815–1817, from which the album Reise nach Brasilien, which first revealed to Europe real images of Brazilian Indians, was the ultimate result. It was translated into several languages and recognized as one of the greatest contributions to the knowledg...
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Alvaro de Mendana de Neira

aka: Álvaro de Mendaña y Neira, Neyra
borndied
1542, Oct 11595, Oct 18
a Spanish navigator. Born in Congosto, in León, he was the nephew of Lope García de Castro, viceroy of Peru. He is best known for the two voyages of discovery he led into the Pacific in 1567 and 1595 in search of Terra Australis.
Timeline (1)Links (1)


Cristovao de Mendonca

aka: Cristóvão de Mendonça
borndied
14751532
a Portuguese noble and explorer who was active in South East Asia in the 16th century. Mendonça is named as the captain of a ship that left Lisbon in 1519 and, after arriving at Goa, as having been given instructions to search for Pliny's legendary Isles of Gold (Chryse), said to lie to "beyond Sumatra."
Links (1)


Cross-listed in Pirates

Pedro Menendez de Aviles

aka: Pedro Menéndez de Avilés
bornactivedied
1519, Feb 1515651574, Sep 17
a Spanish admiral and explorer from the region of Asturias, Spain, who is remembered for planning the first regular trans-oceanic convoys and for founding St. Augustine, Florida, in 1565. This was the first successful Spanish settlement in La Florida and the most significant city in the region for nearly three centuries. St. Augustine is the oldest continuou...
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Timeline (4)Links (2)


Jorge de Menezes

borndied
1498 ca1537
a Portuguese explorer who in 1526-27 landed on the northern coasts of the Bird's Head Peninsula and on the islands of Biak (Cenderawasih Bay), and Waigeo Island (now occupied by Indonesia), whilst he awaited the passing of the monsoon season. He named the region Ilhas dos Papuas and is thus credited with the European discovery of Papua. He was the Portuguese...
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Links (1)


Cross-listed in PhysiciansScientists

Archibald Menzies

borndied
1754, Mar 151842, Feb 15
a Scottish surgeon, botanist and naturalist. In 1790, Menzies was appointed as naturalist to accompany Captain George Vancouver on his voyage around the world on HMS Discovery. In 1794, while Discovery spent one of three winters in Hawaii, Menzies, with Lieute...
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Links (1)


N.C. Middlebrooks

aka: Captain Brooks
bornactivedied
unknown1850sunknown
of the sealing ship Gambia, from Honolulu, he was the first European to sight the Midway Islands (named the "Middlebrook Islands" or the "Brook Islands" by him) on July 5, 1859. He claimed Midway for the U.S., based on the Guano Act of 1856, which authorized Americans to temporarily occupy uninhabited islands to obtain guano.
Timeline (1)


Thomas Mitchell

borndied
1792, Jun 151855, Oct 5
a surveyor and explorer of south-eastern Australia, was born at Grangemouth in Stirlingshire, Scotland. In 1827 he took up an appointment as Assistant Surveyor General of New South Wales. The following year he became Surveyor General and remained in this position until his death. Mitchell was knighted in 1839 for his contribution to the surveying of Austral...
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Links (1)


Cross-listed in Writers

George Fletcher Moore

borndied
1798, Dec 101886, Dec 30
a prominent early settler in colonial Western Australia, and "one (of) the key figures in early Western Australia's ruling elite". He conducted a number of exploring expeditions; was responsible for one of the earliest published records of the language of the Australian Aborigines of the Perth area; and was the author of Diary of Ten Years Eventful Life of a...
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Links (1)


Luis de Moscoso Alvarado

borndied
15051551
assumed command of Hernando de Soto's expedition upon the latter's death, was born in Badajoz, Spain, in 1505, the son of Alonso Hernández Diosdado Mosquera de Moscoso and Isabel de Alvarado (otherwise given as Isabel de Figueroa), natives of Zafra. A nephew ...
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Links (1)


Cross-listed in AstronomersNaval

Ernest Mouchez

bornactivedied
1821, Aug 241843-18871892, Jun 29
a French naval officer who became director of the Paris Observatory and launched the ill-fated Carte du Ciel project in 1887. Born in Madrid, Spain, Mouchez embarked on a career in the French Navy as an ensign in 1843. This was a period of relative international maritime peace and much of the navy's activities were dedicated to exploration and discovery. Mou...
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Links (2)


Henri Mouhot

borndied
1826, May 151861, Nov 10
a French naturalist and explorer of the mid-19th century. He was born in Montbéliard, Doubs, France - near the Swiss border, but spent his childhood in Russia and possibly, parts of Asia. He died near Naphan, Laos. He is remembered mostly in connection to Angkor. Mouhot's tomb is located just outside of Ban Phanom, to the east of Luang Prabang.
Links (1)


Cross-listed in Naval

Francisco Antonio Mourelle

borndied
17501820, May 24
a Galician naval officer and explorer serving the Spanish crown. He was born in San Adrián de Corme (Corme Aldea, Ponteceso), near La Coruña, Galicia. Mourelle served the Spanish navy in the Guyanas, Trinidad, and the Antilles before becoming stationed at New Spain's Pacific Ocean naval base at San Blas, Mexico in 1774. During his service at San Blas, Mou...
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Links (1)


Cross-listed in Pirates

Sir Christopher Myngs

aka: Christopher Mings
bornactivedied
16251650s-1660s1666
English naval officer and pirate. He first appears prominently as the captain of the Elisabeth, which after a sharp action during the First Anglo-Dutch War brought in a Dutch convoy with two men-of-war as prizes.In February 1658, he returned to Jamaica as naval commander, acting as a commerce raider during the Anglo-Spanish War. During these actions he got ...
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Links (5)Notes (1)

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