Jean-François de Galoup, Comte de La Pérouse (August 23, 1741-1788) was a French explorer and naval officer. La Perouse mapped the west coast of North America in 1786, and visited the Easter Islands and Sandwich Islands (now called Hawaii). He was lost at sea while searching for the Solomon Islands (after reaching Australia’s Botany Bay).
René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle (1643-1687) was a French explorer. He was sent by King Louis XIV (14) to travel south from Canada and sail down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. He was the first European to travel the length of the Mississippi River (1682). His mission was to explore and establish fur-trade routes along the river. La Salle named the entire Mississippi basin Louisiana, in honor of the King, and claimed it for France on April 9, 1682. He also explored Lake Michigan (1679), Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario. He tried to start a settlement in the southern Mississippi River Valley, but the venture ended in disaster.
Pierre Gaultier de Varennes, sieur de La Vérendrye (1685-1749) was a Canadian soldier and explorer who traveled farther west than any previous European explorer had; he traveled to Lake Winnipeg and then southwest, almost reaching the Missouri River. He was searching for a route across Canada from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. His father was the sieur de Varennes, the governor of Trois Rivières, Quebec, Canada.
Juan Ponce de Leon (1460?-1521) was a Spanish explorer and soldier who was the first European to set foot in Florida. He also established the oldest European settlement in Puerto Rico and discovered the Gulf Stream (a current in the Atlantic Ocean). Ponce de Leon was searching for the legendary fountain of youth and other riches.
Leif Ericsson (also spelled Eriksson) the Lucky (980?-1020?) was a Viking (Norse) explorer who was possibly the first European to sail to North America. Leif sailed north from the southern tip of Greenland, then went south along the coast of Baffin Island down to Labrador, and then landed in what is now called Newfoundland (which he called Vinland). Ericsson sailed around the year 1000.
Ericsson was born in Iceland and was one of the sons of the explorer Eric the Red.
Ericsson was probably preceded to Vinland by the Icelandic explorer Bjarni Herjulfsson, who spotted the coast of North America in 985 or 986 when blown off course from Iceland to Greenland (but he did not go ashore). Hearing of Herjulfsson’s discovery, Ericsson sailed for North America in the year 1000 with a crew of 35. He landed in what is probably southern Baffin Island (which he called Helluland, meaning the “land of the flat stone”). He then went on the what is now Labrador (which he called Markland, meaning “forest land”). In 1001 they reached Vinland (perhaps the southern tip of Newfoundland), where remains of an ancient Norse settlement have been found). Ericsson and his crew returned to Green land in the spring of 1002.
Ericsson later inherited his father’s position as leader of the Norse colony in Greenland.
Charles Marie de la Condamine (1701-1774), was a French mathematician, explorer, and geographer. La Condamine was sent to Ecuador in 1735 to measure the Earth at the equator. He also scientifically explored and mapped the Amazon region.
Jean Baptiste Bénard de La Harpe (1683- September 26, 1765) was a French explorer, trader, and soldier who sailed to the southern USA in 1718. He explored the Mississippi, Arkansas, Red, and Sulphur Rivers, and the area near Galveston Bay. He helped settle the area along the Red River, established a trading post, and built a fort.
Richard Lemon Lander (1804-1834) was an English explorer who made three trips to West Africa; he and his brother John were the first Europeans to canoe down the lower Niger River to its delta (where it meets the sea).
Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) and William Clark (1770-1838) set out in May 1804 to explore and map the American West. President Thomas Jefferson commissioned the expedition to explore the newly-bought Louisiana Territory. Lewis and Clark were accompanied by a crew of men, and later, the Shoshone Indian guide and interpreter Sacagawea and her infant son. Lewis and Clark travelled by river and by land from St. Louis, Missouri, to the Oregon coast (Fort Clatsop), and back again. Their journey took 2 years, 4 months, and 10 days; they covered over 8,000 miles.
Activities: Print out this map, then draw Lewis and Clark’s route and label the states they passed through.
Do a cloze (fill-in-the-blank) activity on Lewis and Clark
David Livingstone (1813-1873) was a British missionary and explorer who explored the interior of Africa. He arrived as a missionary in Africa in 1841, but began to explore the land in 1853. For over two decades he traveled over land, walking across the continent, and exploring the Zambezi River. He searched for the source of the Nile River. Livingstone was the first European to see the enormous Victoria Falls. Livingstone was thought to be dead (because of rumors started by deserters of his expedition), but the American reporter Henry M. Stanley was sent to Africa to find Livingstone. Stanley found him (1872) and brought him needed food and medicine, then left to recount the tale to readers. Livingstone died a year later in Africa; his heart was buried there, but his body was buried in Westminster Abbey, London, England, after an 8-month journey.
James Arthur Lovell, Jr., (March 25, 1928 - ) was NASA astronaut who flew on two Gemini missions (Gemini 7 and Gemini 12) and made two trips to the moon. Lovell was on the first lunar orbit flight, Apollo 8 (1968), and the aborted Apollo 13 mission (1970). Lovell has continued exploring, visiting both the North Pole (April 13, 1987) and South Pole (January 2000). In 1994, Lovell wrote “Lost Moon,” his account of the Apollo 13 mission.