Major European Explorers, 1487-1682
Explorer
Dates of Voyage
Accomplishments
For Portugal
Bartholomew Diaz
1487-1488
Discovered the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa
Vasco da Gama
1497-1499
made the first all-water voyage from Europe to India
Pedro Cabral
1500
discovered, explored, and claimed Brazil for Portugal
For Spain
Christopher Columbus
1492-1504
explored the islands of the Caribbean
Ponce de Leon
1513
explored what is now Florida
Ferdinand Magellan
1519-1522
commanded the first voyage to circumnavigage (sail around) the world
Hernando Cortez
1519
conquered the Aztecs of Mexico
Francisco Pizarro
1530
conquered the Inca of Peru
Francisco Coronado
1540-1542
explored the southwestern part of what is now the United States
Hernando de Soto
1539-1543
explored the southeastern part of what is now the United States
Juan Cabrillo
1542-1543
explored the west coast of North America
For England
John Cabot
1497-1501
explored and claimed the eastern coast of North America
Henry Hudson
1610-1611
discovered and explored Hudson Bay in northern Canada
For the Netherlands (Holland)
Henry Hudson
1609
discovered and explored the Hudson River
For France
Jacques Cartier
1534-1542
discovered and explored the St. Lawrence River
Samuel de Champlain
1603-1615
explored the St. Lawrence River; discovered and explored the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain
Father Jacques Marquette & Louis Joliet
1673
began exploration of the Mississippi River
Robert de La Salle
1682
completed exploration of the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico