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Louis Hennepin

Louis Hennepin, Récollet missionary, explorer (b at Ath, Belgium 12 May 1626; d c 1705). In 1675 Hennepin was sent to Canada with René-Robert Cavelier de LA SALLE, commandant of Fort Frontenac, where Hennepin was chaplain 1676-77.

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Thomas James

Thomas James, explorer (b 1593; d 1635). He sailed from Bristol to Hudson Bay in 1631, 2 days before Luke FOX left on a rival voyage from London. The 2 met by chance at Cape Henrietta Maria (named after James's ship).

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Simon Fraser

Simon Fraser, explorer, fur trader (born 20 May 1776 in Mapletown, Hoosick Township, New York; died 18 August 1862 in St Andrews West, Canada West). Simon Fraser is best known for his exploration of the Fraser River.

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Juan de Fuca

Juan de Fuca, pilot, apocryphal explorer of the NORTHWEST COAST (b at Valeriano, Cephalonia I, Greece; d there c 1602). Other than what Michael Lok, an English promoter of geographical discovery, reported in 1596, little is known about Fuca.

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Franklin Search

The disappearance in 1845 of Sir John Franklin and his crew in the Canadian Arctic set off the greatest rescue operation in the history of exploration.

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Lorenzo Ferrer Maldonado

Lorenzo Ferrer Maldonado, apocryphal navigator, adventurer (b in Spain; d 1625). In 1601 he submitted to King Philip III of Spain a document about his purported 1588 voyage through the NORTHWEST PASSAGE from east to west.

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James Cook

  James Cook, explorer (b near Marton, Eng 27 Oct 1728; d at Kealakekua Bay, Sandwich Is [Hawaii] 14 Feb 1779). The greatest navigator of his era, he served as master of the Pembroke at the siege of LOUISBOURG (1758) during the SEVEN YEARS' WAR.

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Sir Francis Drake

Sir Francis Drake, one of history's great seamen and adventurers (b near Tavistock, Eng 1540?; d off Panama 28 Jan 1596). He likely sighted VANCOUVER ISLAND on his voyage around the world (1577-80).

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Peter Warren Dease

Peter Warren Dease, fur trader, arctic explorer (b at Mackinac I, Mich 1 Jan 1788; d at Montréal 17 Jan 1863). From age 13 he was engaged in the FUR TRADE, first with the XY Co, then the NORTH WEST CO and finally the HUDSON'S BAY CO.

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Étienne Brûlé

Étienne Brûlé, explorer, interpreter (b probably at Champigny-sur-Marne, France c 1592; d in Huronia c June 1633). Brûlé was the first Frenchman to live among the Indigenous people.

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François Dollier de Casson

François Dollier de Casson, explorer, superior of the Sulpicians in New France (1670-74, 1678-1701), seigneur of Montréal, vicar general, historian (b in the château of Casson-sur-l'Erdre in Lower Brittany 1636; d at Montréal 27 Sept 1701).

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Bjarni Herjolfsson

Bjarni Herjolfsson, Norse explorer (dates of birth and death unknown; lived in the 10th century). Herjolfsson was likely the first European to sight the east coast of North America. While sailing from Iceland to Greenland in 986 CE, Herjolfsson sighted lands that were later determined to be Baffin Island, Labrador and Newfoundland. Although Herjolfsson never set foot in North America, Leif Ericsson later retraced his voyage, establishing a settlement at what he called Vinland.

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Henry Hudson

Henry Hudson, mariner, explorer (born c. 1570 in England; disappeared 1611). Hudson was among a long list of explorers who searched in vain for a northern passage through Arctic waters from Europe to East Asia. He made four voyages historians are aware of, in 1607, 1608, 1609 and 1610–11. While he never found a route, in Canada, Hudson Bay and Hudson Strait are named for him, as well as the Hudson River in New York state. He disappeared, along with his son and seven companions, after being set adrift in a ship’s boat during a mutiny on James Bay in June 1611. (See also Northwest Passage; Arctic Exploration.)