THE AGE OF EXPLORATION

Early Portuguese and Spanish Explorers

Henry the Navigator

Henry the Navigator had a very significant role in the age of exploration He sent many expeditions to the west coast of Africa and southwards as he looked for a sea route to the spice islands. Henry the Navigator was born in 1394 in Portugal to King João. Henry was a price, politican, warrior and grand master of the Order of Christ. In 1419 Henry opened his School of Navigation on Sagres coast. It became known as Vila do Infante (the Prince's town). Immediately people from all over Europe began to study there. He encouraged scolars, sailors, navigators, ship makers, map makers and anyone else that was intrested in nautical science or that could help his explore the east. Henry the Navigator is so famous because of his geographical discoveries and opening new trade and cultureal links between Europe and the east. This is why he is given the title 'Henry the Navigator'.

Map of Sages in Portugal
Map of Sages in Portugal

a caravel - a small Spanish or Portugese ship used in the 15th-17th century
a caravel - a small Spanish or Portugese ship used in the 15th-17th century

Henry the Navigator (1394-1460)
Henry the Navigator (1394-1460)

The School of Navigation founded by Henry in 1418
The School of Navigation founded by Henry in 1418


The Famous Explorers

Bartholomew Dias 1482

Bartholomew Dias (1450-1500) was a Portugese explorer/adventurer. His voyage in 1482 is so famous because he was the first sea captain to sail beyond the southen tip of Africa. He discovered what is known as the Stormy Cape of Good Hope.
Bartholomew Dias
Bartholomew Dias
Map of his Voyage 1482
Map of his Voyage 1482

Vasco da Gama 1498

Vasco da Gama (1460-1524) was a Portugese explorer/navigator who was to first to discover the route from Europe direct to India. His jouney began in Europe in 1497 and he reach the East in 1498.
Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama
Map of his Voyage 1497-1498
Map of his Voyage 1497-1498

Christopher Columbus 1492

Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) was an Italian explorer who sailed Atlantic Ocean in 1492. He was hoping to tracel as far as India in order to trade spices. He lead the expedition with three ships, the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria (he captained this ship).
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Map of his Voyage 1492
Map of his Voyage 1492

Ferdinand Magellan 1520

Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1522) was a Portugese explorer who lead the first expedition that sailed around the world that started in 1519 and lasted until 1522. He was also the one who named the Pacific Ocean (carm, peacful ocean). Ferdinand Magellan left with five ships, the Trinidad, San Antonio, Concepcion, Victoria, and Santiago. Three years later, only one ship, the Victoria made it back to Seville.
Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan
Map of his Voyage 1419-1422
Map of his Voyage 1419-1422



Early English and Dutch Explorers

Francis Drake 1577-1580

Francis Drake (1545-1596) was an English sea captain, explorer, privateer and slave-trader. In 1577 he led the second expedition to sail around the world (Ferdinand Magellan led the first). His expedition is so famous because he was the first englishman to naviggate Ferdinand Magellan's route. He left with five ships (incuding the Golden Hind) however when he reached the Pacific Ocean in October 1578 he was only left with one.
Francis Drake
Francis Drake
Map of his Voyage 1577-1580
Map of his Voyage 1577-1580

Abel Tasman 1642

Abel Tasman (1603-1659) was a Dutch explorer, he was the first to european explorer to reach the island of Van Diemen's (today known as Tasmania), New Zealand, Figi and Tonga. He sailed with ton ships, the Heemskerck and Zeehaen.
Abel Tasman
Abel Tasman
Map of his Voyage 1642
Map of his Voyage 1642

William Dampier 1688

William Dampier (1651-1715) was an British seaman and map-maker. In 1688 he sailed on the Cygnet from England to the West Australian coast. While on his expedition he also named Shark bay, Western Australia after seeing many sharks there.
William Dampier
William Dampier
Map of his Voyage 1688
Map of his Voyage 1688

James Cook 1768-71

James Cook (1728-1779) was an english navigator. Cook led many expeditions but his first famous one (often refered to as the first fleet) was in 1768 -1771 when he sailed to the pacific Ocean in hopes of exploring the 'unknown southen lands'. During this expedition he discovered the eastern coast of Australia, New Zealand and Papa New Guinea. He then led two more voyages to this area. His ship was named The Endeavour.
James Cook
James Cook
The Endeavour
The Endeavour

Map of his Voyage 1768-1771
Map of his Voyage 1768-1771