Today as we move around the world and visit places which strike our fancy, we forget to offer thanks to the explorers of the years gone by. They went through a lot of trouble and hardship in order to make the road easy for us, and they travelled to new unchartered territories and had no benchmarks to guide them.
We salute ten of the best known explorers of all times:
1. Christopher Columbus:
Folklore claims that he was the first explorer from Europe to reach America, but the truth really is that he was the first one to show 15th century Europe the opportunities awaiting them in the New World. He set out to look for China and India by sailing to the west and found much more than that.
2. Neil Armstrong:
He cannot be really termed as an explorer but he was the first man to set foot on the moon and he opened up new vistas for all of us to dream about. He was part of NASA’s space program, and even though he was part of a team, he was the commander of the Apollo 11 team.
3. Sir Francis Drake:
He was the first English explorer to circumnavigate the world, and while he was doing this he discovered many islands in the Pacific and the Atlantic. He claimed these for his sovereign and he also prevented Spain from taking control of many of the seaways of the world.
4. Roald Amundsen:
Born into a family of Norwegian ship owners, Amundsen led an expedition to Antartica and to a search for the North West passage. He was the first person to reach the South Pole and to fly over the North Pole
5. Charles Darwin:
A naturalist of immense renown, Charles Darwin spent five years charting out the South American coastline. His travels and investigations into geology and natural history were the sources of his world famous book “The Origin of the Species”.
6. Marco Polo:
One of the earliest explorers, Marco Polo began his journeys in 1271. He travelled through Armenia, Persia, Afghanistan, India and China. He lived in China for over seventeen years and his book about his travels was the guidebook for many future explorers.
7. Dr. Livingstone:
He set out in 1841 as a missionary to Africa. He discovered Victoria Falls in Africa and spent many years searching for the source of the Nile. He was believed to be lost or dead, when Henry Morton Stanley set out to look for him in 1871, finally locating him at Ujiji.
8. Robert Edwin Peary:
The best known polar explorer in the world Robert Peary was the first man to reach the South Pole. His expeditions were all funded by private means, and he succeeded where others had failed for many years. He studied the survival techniques of the locals there and learned to survive in hostile conditions.
9. Sir Edmund Hilary & Tenzing Norgay:
The first mountaineers to conquer Mount Everest, these two men climbed mountains when the going was difficult and they did not have the sophisticated equipment which is available nowadays.
10. Hernan Cortes:
Born in 1485, Cortes led an expedition into Mexico in 1518. He conquered the Aztec Empire in 1521 and he continued to live there for many years.