Browse "Explorers"

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John Cabot

John Cabot (a.k.a. Giovanni Caboto), merchant, explorer (born before 1450 in Italy, died at an unknown place and date). In 1496, King Henry VII of England granted Cabot the right to sail in search of a westward trade route to Asia and lands unclaimed by Christian monarchs. Cabot mounted three voyages, the second of which, in 1497, was the most successful. During this journey Cabot coasted the shores of Newfoundland and Labrador, possibly sighted the Beothuk or Innu people of the region, and famously noted that the waters teemed with cod. At the time, the land Cabot saw was thought to be the eastern shore of Asia, the fabled island of Brasil, or the equally fabled Isle of Seven Cities. Cabot and his crew were the second group of Europeans to reach what would become Canada, following Norse explorers around 1000 CE. Despite not yielding the trade route Cabot hoped for, the 1497 voyage provided England with a claim to North America and knowledge of an enormous new fishery.

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John Davis

John Davis (also spelled Davys), explorer, navigator (born ca. 1550 near Dartmouth, England; died 27 December 1605 off Bintan Island, near Singapore).

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Karlsefni

Thorfinn Karlsefni (Old Norse Þórfinnr Karlsefni), explorer and trader (born c. 980–95 CE in Iceland; year of death unknown). Born Thorfinn Thordarson, this Icelandic aristocrat and wealthy merchant ship owner led one of the Norse expeditions to Vinland, located in what is now Atlantic Canada. He is usually referred to by his nickname, Karlsefni, meaning “the makings of a man.” Karlsefni appears in several historical sources. A long passage in The Saga of the Greenlanders is devoted to him, and he is the chief subject of The Saga of Erik the Red. There are also short accounts in the Old Norse manuscripts known as the Arni Magnusson codex 770b and Vellum codex No. 192.

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Leif Eriksson

Leif Eriksson (Old Norse Leifr Eiríksson, a.k.a. Leifr hinn heppni, Leif the Lucky), explorer, chieftain (born in the 970s CE in Iceland; died between 1018 and 1025 in Greenland). Leif Eriksson was the first European to explore the east coast of North America, including areas that are now part of Arctic and Atlantic Canada. Upon the death of his father, Erik the Red, Leif became paramount chieftain of the Norse colony in Greenland. The two main sources on him are The Saga of the Greenlanders and The Saga of Erik the Red. There are also references to him in The Saga of Olaf Tryggvason and The Saga of St. Olaf.

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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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Marc Garneau

Marc Garneau, CC, astronaut, military officer, engineer, politician (born 23 February 1949 in Québec City, QC).

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Moira Dunbar

Isobel Moira Dunbar, OC, FRSC, public servant, ice research scientist (born 3 February 1918 in Edinburgh, Scotland; died 22 November 1999 in Ottawa, ON).

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Otto Neumann Sverdrup

Otto Neumann Sverdrup, arctic explorer (b at Bindal, Norway 31 Oct 1854; d at Oslo 26 Nov 1930). An experienced sailor and outdoorsman, he was introduced to arctic travel by Fridtjof Nansen, who invited him in 1888 to ski across

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Pierre-Esprit Radisson

After the governor of New France punished them for this expedition, the partners went to Boston to arrange a voyage to Hudson Bay. In 1665 they sailed to England, where their plan of bypassing the St Lawrence R to reach the interior fur-producing region found backers.

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Roald Amundsen

   Roald Amundsen, arctic explorer (b at Sarpsborg, Norway 16 July 1872; d between Norway and Spitsbergen 18 June 1928). Amundsen went to sea as a young man. Determined to navigate the NORTHWEST PASSAGE, he purchased the Gjoa, readied it for arctic waters and embarked in 1903.

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Robert Brent Thirsk

Robert (Bob) Brent Thirsk, biomedical engineer, astronaut (b at New Westminster, BC 17 Aug 1953). He studied mechanical engineering at the University of Calgary (BSc, 1976) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MSc, 1978), and he received an MD from McGill University in 1982.

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Samuel Hearne

Samuel Hearne, explorer, fur trader, author, naturalist (born 1745 in London, England; died November 1792 in London, England).

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Samuel de Champlain

Samuel de Champlain, cartographer, explorer, colonial administrator (born circa 1567 in Brouage, France; died 25 December 1635 in Québec City). Champlain played a major role in founding New France from 1603 to 1635.

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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.