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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 Writers

Armagil Waad

aka: Wade
borndied
1511 ca1568, Jun 20
a chief clerk of the Privy Council, servant of government and an English parliamentarian. In 1536 he joined as an adventurer in Hore’s voyage to North America. Waad is said to have written an account of this voyage, which was afterwards printed. No such work has been traced.
Links (4)


Cross-listed in Pirates

Lionel Wafer

bornactivedied
16401679-17051705
a Welsh explorer, buccaneer and privateer. A ship's surgeon, Wafer made several voyages to the South Seas and visited Maritime Southeast Asia in 1676. The following year he settled in Jamaica to practise his profession. In 1679 two noted buccaneers named Capt John Cook and Linen convinced him to become a surgeon for their fleet. In 1680, Wafer met more
Links (2)Notes (1)


Cross-listed in ArtistsCartographers

Jean-Frederic Waldeck

aka: Jean-Frédéric
bornactivedied
1766, Mar 16?1790s-1860s1875, Apr 30
a French antiquarian, cartographer, artist and explorer. Waldeck is remembered primarily for the exploration of Mexico and the publication of many examples of Maya and Aztec sculpture. Unfortunately, errors in his illustrations fostered misconceptions about Mesoamerican civilizations and contributed to Mayanism. In 1838, Waldeck published Voyage pittoresque...
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Links (1)


Joseph R. Walker

borndied
1798, Dec 131876, Oct 27
a mountain man and experienced scout. He established the segment of the California Trail, the primary route for the emigrants to the gold fields during the California gold rush, from Fort Hall, Idaho to the Truckee River. The Walker River and Walker Lake in Nevada were named for him by John C. Frémont.
Timeline (1)Links (1)


Cross-listed in Physicians

Thomas Walker

bornactivedied
1715, Jan 251740s-1780s1794, Nov 9
a distinguished physician and explorer from Virginia; in the mid-18th century, he was part of an expedition to the region beyond the Allegheny Mountains and the unsettled area of British North America. During the expedition, Walker gave names to many topographical features, including the Cumberland Gap. His party built the first non-Indian house (a cabin) in...
more
Links (1)


Cross-listed in Scientists

Alfred Russel Wallace

borndied
1823, Jan 81913, Nov 7
a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist, and biologist. He is best known for independently conceiving the theory of evolution through natural selection; his paper on the subject was jointly published with some of Charles Darwin's writings in ...
more
Timeline (1)Links (1)


Cross-listed in Naval

Samuel Wallis

borndied
1728, Apr 231795, Jan 21
a Cornish navigator who circumnavigated the world. In 1766 he was given the command of HMS Dolphin to circumnavigate the world, accompanied by the Swallow under the command of Philip Carteret. The two ships were parted shortly after sailing through the Strait of Magellan, Wallis continuing to Tahiti, which he named "King George the Third's Island" in honour...
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Links (1)


James Weddell

bornactivedied
1787, Aug 241800s-1820s1834, Sep 9
a British sailor, navigator and seal hunter who in February 1823 sailed to latitude of 74°15'S (a record 7.69 degrees or 532 statute miles south of the Antarctic Circle) and into a region of the Southern Ocean that later became known as the Weddell Sea.
Timeline (1)Links (1)


Antony Welser

bornactivedied
unknown1500s-15181518
One of the first Europeans to use the sea route to India discovered by Vasco de Gama.
Links (1)


Bartholomeus Welser VI

bornactivedied
1512, Oct 261540-15461546, May
the son of Bartholomeus V. Welser (the elder), he journeyed to Venezuela to join an expedition by Governor Georg von Speyer. Finding Speyer dead on his arrival, he joined Philipp von Hutten in exploring Venezuela for the Welser banking family which had acquired the colonial rights to Venezuela Province i, creating Klein-Venedig. After his return to El Tocuyo...
more
Links (2)


Cross-listed in Artists

John White

bornactivedied
1540 ca1580s1593
an English artist and early pioneer of English efforts to settle North America. He was among those who sailed with Richard Grenville to the shore of present-day North Carolina in 1585, acting as artist and mapmaker to the expedition. Explored Roanoke Island acting as artist-illustrator and surveyor.
Links (1)


Cross-listed in Naval

Charles Wilkes

bornactivedied
1798, Apr 31830s-1860s1877, Feb 8
an American naval officer and explorer. He led the United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842 and commanded the ship in the Trent Affair during the American Civil War (1861–1865), where he attacked a Royal Mail Ship, almost leading to war between the U.S. and the UK. His behavior led to two convictions by court-martial, one stemming from the massacre of...
more
Timeline (3)Links (1)


Ferdinand von Wrangel

bornactivedied
1796, Dec 291817-18641870, May 25
a Baltic German explorer and seaman in Russian service, Honorable Member of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences, a founder of the Russian Geographic Society. Explored northern Russia
Links (1)

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