Top 10 explorers factsExplorers quiz
Who was the first to navigate the Northwest Passage? (sea route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans)
Roald Amundsen. In a three year journey between 1903 and 1906, Amundsen explored the passage with a crew of no more than six, in the converted 47-ton herring boat Gjøa. Spending winters with ship trapped in ice, he learned from the local Netsilik people about Arctic survival skills that would later prove useful. For example, he learned to use sled dogs and to wear animal skins in lieu of heavy, woolen parkas. Amundsen later led the expeditions to discover the South Pole (1911) and the North Pole (1926).
The southernmost tip of Africa is named the Cape of Good Hope. A hope for what?
Sea route to India. Bartolomeu Dias originally named the Cape of Good Hope the "Cape of Storms" (Cabo das Tormentas). It was later renamed (by King John II of Portugal) the Cape of Good Hope because it represented the opening of a route to the east.
After whom is Queen Maud Land in Antarctica named?
Norwegian queen. Queen Maud Land was the first part of Antarctica to be sighted. The name was initially applied in January 1930 to the land discovered by Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen and Finn Lützow-Holm during Norvegia expedition of 1929–30. It was named after the Norwegian Queen Maud of Wales, wife of the then-reigning King Haakon VII.
Which famous explorer resorted to piracy during his expeditions?
Vasco da Gama. During his trip to India da Gama met hostility in the Arab-controlled territories of East Africa. Eventually the expedition resorted to piracy, looting unarmed Arab merchant ships. During the second expedition, Gama's fleet set about capturing any Arab vessel he came across in Indian waters, most notoriously the Miri, a pilgrim ship from Mecca, whose passengers (including women and children) he had locked and buried to death - despite their offers to pay ransom and begs for mercy.
Who was the first European navigator to reach Australia?
Willem Janszoon. Janszoon reached the Gulf of Carpentaira (north of Australia) and made a landfall in 1606. However, he found the land swampy and the people inhospitable. He called the land he had discovered “Nieu Zeland” after the Dutch province of Zeeland, but the name was not adopted and was later used by Abel Tasman for New Zealand.
Which navigator carried out the second circumnavigation of the world in a single expedition?
Francis Drake. In 1577, half a century after Magellan's expedition, Francis Drake set sail from Plymouth with five ships and 164 men. During his expedition, he captured several Portuguese and Spanish Ships (including treasury ship with 36 kg of gold) and sacked Valparaiso. After his return, the Queen's half-share of the cargo surpassed the rest of the crown's income for that entire year.
How many travels around the world did Ferdinand Magellan complete?
None. Magellan's expedition of 1519–1522 became the first expedition to circumnavigate the Earth. But Magellan himself did not complete the entire voyage, being killed during the Battle of Mactan in the Philippines.
In which Nordic country was this photo taken?
Norway. The Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo houses vessels and maps from the 1964 Kon-Tiki expedition, during which Norwegian etnographer Thor Heyerdahl sailed 8,000 km (5,000 mi) across the Pacific Ocean in a self-built raft from South America to the Tuamotu Islands.
Who was the first European navigator to reach South Africa?
Bartolomeu Dias. During his expedition in 1487-1488, Bartolomeu Dias reached the tip of South Africa. Dias wanted to continue sailing to India, but he was forced to turn back when his crew refused to go further. After returning to Lisbon, Dias helped in the construction of the ships that were used by Vasco da Gama to eventually reach India ten years later.