Great explorers

Read about the daring exploits of some of history's bravest explorers. From the well-known endeavours of Scott, Shackleton, Columbus and Drake, to the lesser-known adventures of men like Magellan, Flinders and Cabot, we take you on a voyage of discovery.

Ferdinand Magellan (1480–1521) was a Portuguese explorer who is credited with masterminding the first expedition to circumnavigate the world.

In 1576 Martin Frobisher was the first English explorer to search for the North-West Passage – the seaway linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Walter Raleigh (1544–1618) was a courtier, seaman and explorer in Elizabethan England. He was a pioneer in the English colonisation of North America.

Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen was the first man who successfully navigated the North-West Passage by boat, on a voyage that lasted from 1903 to 1906.

Anthony Jenkinson was a 16th century English merchant and explorer. He wrote maps and works on Russia and met Ivan the Terrible several times.

William Edward Parry was a key figure in the discovery of the North-West Passage. He made three voyages to find it and his research was invaluable.

Explorer Matthew Flinders was the first man to circumnavigate Australia and popularised the name ‘Australia’ in his book, Voyage to Terra Australis.

No one before (and few since) rose so far and so fast from a simple rural background to national fame. Cook was marked for greatness from the outset.

Follow the key events in Captain Cook’s life of adventure from a simple start to global fame and a grizzly death.

Sir Ernest Shackleton was an Anglo-Irish Antarctic explorer, who made three expeditions to the continent, most famously in 1914 on the Endurance.