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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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Edmund Fanning

borndied
1769, Jul 161841, Apr 23
an American explorer and sea captain, known as the "Pathfinder of the Pacific." As master of the Betsey in 1797-1798, he discovered three South Pacific Islands — Fanning, Washington, and Palmyra — which are collectively known as the Fanning Islands. Explored Oceania
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Baltasar Fernandes

borndied
1580 ca1667 ca
a Portuguese colonist of Brazil who led the expeditions called Bandeirantes into the interior seeking gold, silver, and iron. He was the founder and one of the first settlers of Sorocaba in 1654.
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Duarte Fernandes

bornactivedied
unknown1500s-1510sunknown
a Portuguese diplomat and the first European to establish diplomatic relations with Thailand, when in 1511 he led a diplomatic mission to Ayutthaya Kingdom (Kingdom of Siam), after the Portuguese conquest of Malacca. Explored Thailand.
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Juan Fernandez

aka: Fernández
borndied
1536 ca1604 ca
a Spanish explorer and navigator in the Pacific regions of the Viceroyalty of Peru and Captaincy General of Chile west of colonial South America. He is best known for the discovery of a fast maritime route from Callao (Peru) to Valparaíso (Chile), as well as for the discovery of the Juan Fernández Islands off the coast of Chile.
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Salvador Fidalgo

aka: Salvador Fidalgo y Lopegarcía
borndied
1756, Aug 61803, Sep 27
a Spanish explorer who commanded an exploring expedition for Spain to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest during the late 18th century.
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Cross-listed in Writers

Ralph Fitch

borndied
1550 ca1611
a gentleman merchant of London and one of the earliest English travellers and traders to visit Mesopotamia, the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean, India and Southeast Asia. At first he was no chronicler but he did eventually write descriptions of the south-east Asia he saw in 1583–1591, and upon his return to England, in 1591, became a valuable consultant for ...
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Cross-listed in Cartographers

Matthew Flinders

borndied
1774, Mar 161814, Jul 19
a distinguished English navigator and cartographer, who was the first to circumnavigate Australia and identify it as a continent. Explored Australia and Tasmania.
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Cross-listed in Writers

Alexander Forbes

borndied
17781862
a 19th-century Scottish merchant, explorer, and author. His book California: A History of Upper and Lower California, published in 1839, is perhaps the first full account in English of California. He is the brother of distinguished Scottish physician Sir John Forbes.
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Cross-listed in Writers

Peter Forsskal

aka: Forsskål, Pehr Forsskål, Peter Forskaol, Petrus Forskål, Pehr Forsskåhl
borndied
1732, Jan 111763, Jul 11
a Swedish explorer, orientalist, naturalist and an apostle of Carl Linnaeus. He was appointed by king Frederick V of Denmark to join, amongst others, the orientalist and mathematician Carsten Niebuhr on an expedition to Arabia. Explored the Arabian Peninsula
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Cross-listed in Naval

Sir John Franklin

borndied
1786, Apr 161847, Jun 11
a British Royal Navy officer and explorer of the Arctic. Franklin also served as Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) from 1837 to 1843. He disappeared on his last expedition, attempting to chart and navigate a section of the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic. The icebound ships were abandoned and the entire crew perished from starv...
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Simon Fraser

borndied
1776, May 201862, Aug 18
a Scottish fur trader and an explorer who charted much of what is now the Canadian province of British Columbia (B.C.). He also built the first European settlement in B.C.. Fraser was employed by the Montreal-based North West Company. By 1805, he had been put in charge of all the company's operations west of the Rocky Mountains. He was responsible for buildi...
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Cross-listed in MilitaryGovernance

John C. Fremont

aka: Frémont
bornactivedied
1813, Jan 211840s1890, Jul 13
an American military officer, explorer, and politician who became the first candidate of the anti-slavery Republican Party for the office of President of the United States. During the 1840s, when he led four expeditions into the American West, that era's penny press and admiring historians accorded Frémont the sobriquet The Pathfinder. During the Mexican Am...
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Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne

aka: Dufresne
borndied
1724, May 221772, Jun 12
a Breton-born French explorer who made important discoveries in the south Indian Ocean, in Tasmania and in New Zealand. Du Fresne was killed by Maori in 1772. He is commemorated in various place names, as well as in the name of the research vessel providing logistical support to the French Southern Territories of Île Amsterdam, Île Saint-Paul, Îles Crozet...
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Cross-listed in Writers

Louis de Freycinet

borndied
1779, Aug 71841, Aug 18
a French navigator. He was born at Montélimar, Drôme. He circumnavigated the earth, and in 1811 published the first map to show a full outline of the coastline of Australia. Explored western Australia and Oceania. In 1805, he returned to Paris, and was entrusted by the government with the work of preparing the maps and plans of the expedition. He also comp...
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Cross-listed in Pirates

Martin Frobisher

bornactivedied
15351585 ca1595
an English seaman and privateer (licensed pirate) who made three voyages to the New World to look for the Northwest Passage. All landed in northeastern Canada, around today's Resolution Island and Frobisher Bay. On his second voyage, Frobisher found what he thought was gold ore and carried 200 tons of it home on three ships, where initial assaying determined...
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Cross-listed in Naval

Tobias Furneaux

borndied
1735, Aug 211781, Sep 18
an English navigator and Royal Navy officer, who accompanied James Cook on his second voyage of exploration. He was the first man to circumnavigate the world in both directions, and later commanded a British vessel during the American Revolutionary War.
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