Panfilo de Narvaez (1470?-1528) was a Spanish explorer and soldier. He helped conquer Cuba in 1511 and led a Spanish royal expedition to North America (leaving Spain in 1527). He was born in Valladolid, Spain and died on his expedition to Florida.
De Narvaez was granted the land of Florida by the Emperor Charles V in 1526. He led an expedition there with 300 men, including Cabeza de Vaca. After surviving a hurricane near Cuba, his expedition landed on the west coast of Florida (near Tampa Bay) in April, 1528, claiming the land for Spain.
Fray Marcos de Niza (1495 - March 25, 1558 ) was a Franciscan priest who is said to have traveled to the fabled “Seven Golden Cities of Cibola” in what is now the western part of New Mexico.
De Niza was born in Savoy (now in France, but it was Italian then), and became a Franciscan friar. He sailed to the Americas in 1531, and traveled to Peru, Guatemala, and Mexico. He freed some Native American slaves at Culiacán, Mexico.
He and the Moorish slave Estevanico were sent from Mexico City to find Cibola by the Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza (March to August 1539). De Niza reported that he and Estevanico saw the extraordinarily rich “Seven Golden Cities of Cibola,” but they were later found to be simple Zuni Indian pueblos. Estevanico was killed by Zuni Indians during this expedition. De Niza survived and eventually was in charge of his Franciscan order (1541).
Captain Christopher Newport (1560? - 1617) was an English privateer and navigator who transported colonists to the first permanent English colony in America, Jamestown, and sailed back and forth from England to the New World five times between 1606 and 1611, transporting both supplies and colonists. Captain Newport had been hired by the Virginia Company to transport the colonists. On December 19, 1606, Captain Newport sailed from London, England, commanding three small ships, the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery, carrying the Jamestown, Virginia settlers, including Capt. John Smith. Jamestown was founded on May 14, 1607, by this small group of English settlers. Newport left the 104 settlers in June 22, 1607, sailing back to England for supplies. That winter, most of the Jamestown settlers died from starvation, attacks, and disease. In 1608, back in Virginia, Newport halted the execution of Captain John Smith (the Jamestown leader who had been accused of causing the deaths of the men on his expedition to obtain food from the Indians); Smith’s life had been previously saved by Pocahontas when he was brought before the Indian Chief Powhatan. On his fourth trip to America (in 1609), Newport was ship-wrecked in the Bermuda Islands and did not reach Virginia until mid-1610. After his American adventures, he sailed to Persia in 1613-1614 for the East India Company. Captain Newport died in Bantam, Java in 1617 on a voyage to the East Indies.
Jean Nicollet [also spelled Nicolet] (1598 - 1642) was a French explorer who was the first European to travel through the Great Lakes area, visiting Lake Michigan and what are now Wisconsin and Illinois, possibly reaching the Mississippi River. For many years, Nicollet lived among the Native Americans in what is now the Ontario, Canada area.
Tenzing Norgay, born Namgyal Wangdi, (1919-1986) was a Nepalese professional mountaineer from a Sherpa village. Norgay and Edmund Percival Hillary were the first people to reach the top of Mount Everest (Chomolungma) on May 29, 1953; Norgay was the first to actually place foot on the summit. Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world (29,028 feet = 8,848 m). A few months before this climb (in 1952), Norgay and Raymond Lambert climbed to within 1,000 feet of the Everest’s summit - a world record at the time. Tenzing Norgay climbed to Everest’s summit many times during the 20 years following his and Hillary’s successful climb.