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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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Cross-listed in Naval

Jose Maria Narvaez

aka: José María Narváez
bornactivedied
17681780s-18311840, Aug 4
a Spanish naval officer, explorer, and navigator notable for his work in the Gulf Islands and Lower Mainland of present-day British Columbia. In 1791, as commander of the schooner Santa Saturnina, he led the first European exploration of the Strait of Georgia, including a landing on present-day British Columbia's Sunshine Coast. He also entered Burrard Inlet...
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Timeline (1)Links (1)


Panfilo de Narvaez

aka: Narváez
bornactivedied
14701510s-1520s1528
Explorer
Timeline (2)Links (1)


Jean Nicolet

bornactivedied
1598 ca1610s-16421642, Nov 1
a French coureur des bois noted for exploring Green Bay of Lake Michigan, in what is now the U.S. state of Wisconsin.Nicolet is noted for being the first European to cross Lake Michigan. In 1634 he became the first European to explore what would become Wisconsin. Jean Nicolet landed at Red Banks, near modern-day Green Bay, Wisconsin, in search of a passage t...
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Joseph Nicollet

bornactivedied
1786, Jul 241830s-18431843, Sep 11
a French geographer, astronomer, and mathematician known for mapping the Upper Mississippi River basin during the 1830s. Nicollet led three expeditions in the region between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, primarily in Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota.
Links (1)


Pedro Alonso Nino

aka: Niño
borndied
14681505 ca
a Spanish explorer. Nino was a Moor. Born in Palos de Moguer, Spain, he explored the coasts of Africa in his early years. He piloted one of Columbus' ships in the expedition of 1492, and accompanied him during his third voyage that saw the discovery of Trinidad and the mouths of the Orinoco River. After returning to Spain, Niño made preparations to explore ...
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Cross-listed in NavalWriters

Frederic Louis Norden

aka: Frederick, Frederik, Friderick, Ludwig, Ludvig and Lewis
borndied
1708, Oct 221742, Sep 22
a Danish naval captain and explorer. Norden made a voyage through Egypt all the way down to Sudan in 1737–1738, on the request of King Christian VI of Denmark. Norden made abundant notes, observations and drawings of everything around him, including people, pharaonic monuments, architecture, installations, maps etc., all of which was published in the posth...
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Timeline (1)Links (1)


Fernao de Noronha

aka: Fernão, Fernando, Fernando della Rogna
borndied
1470 ca1540 ca
a prominent 16th-century Portuguese merchant of Lisbon, of Jewish descent. He was the first charter-holder (1502–1512), the first donatary captain in Brazil and sponsor of numerous early Portuguese overseas expeditions. The islands of Fernando de Noronha off the coast of Brazil, discovered by one of his expeditions and granted to Loronha and his heirs as a...
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Joao da Nova

aka: João
bornactivedied
1460 ca1500s1509, Jul
a Galician explorer of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans at the service of Portugal. He is credited as the discoverer of Ascension and Saint Helena islands. The Juan de Nova Island, in the Mozambique Channel, is named after him. The Farquhar atoll (in the Seychelles) was, for a long time, known as the João da Nova islands. It is sometimes thought that the Agal...
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Timeline (2)Links (1)


Paulo Dias de Novais

bornactivedied
1510 ca1575-15891589
a Portuguese colonizer of Africa in the 16th century and the first Captain-Governor of Portuguese Angola. He was the grandson of the explorer Bartolomeu Dias. Novais arrived in what is now Angola on 11 February 1575. Attracted by the prospect of the famous silver mines of Cambambe, he founded the settlement of São Paulo de Luanda, near the island of Luanda.
Links (1)


Cross-listed in Writers

Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca

aka: Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
bornactivedied
1490 ca1520s-1540s1557 ca
a Spanish explorer of the New World, and one of four survivors of the 1527 Narváez expedition. During eight years of traveling across the US Southwest, he became a trader and faith healer to various Native American tribes before reconnecting with Spanish colonial forces in Mexico in 1536. After returning to Spain in 1537, he wrote an account, first publishe...
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