Willem Janszoon, a navigator and colonial governor for the Dutch East India Company (VOC), is the first European known to have seen the coast of Australia.
From the ship Duyfken Janszoon made landfall at the Pennefather River near the modern town of Weipa, Queensland, where he found the natives inhospitable and the land swampy. He called the place “Nieu Zeland” after the Dutch province of Zeeland, however the name wasn't used for the continent but rather for an archipelago of islands 900 miles to the east of Australia (see Abel Tasman).
García Jofre de Loaísa
b. 1490; Spain
d. July, 1526; Pacific Ocean (scurvy)
King Charles I of Spain sent García Jofre de Loaísa and Juan Sebastian Elcano with a fleet of seven ships and 450 men, to colonize the Spice Islands.
The expedition sailed west from Corunna, Galicia in July of 1525, reached Patagonia the next January. Due to bad weather only four ships made it through the Straits of Magellan. In the Pacific another two ships and crews were lost with only one ship reaching the Spice Islands in September of 1526, where the 24 survivors were captured by the Portugese.
One ship reached the west coast of Mexico, the first navigation from Europe to the Western coast of North America. A theory has been presented that one lost ship made it to New Zealand.
French-Canadian explorer Louis Joliet (or Jolliet), along with missionary priest Pere Jacques Marquette, were the first Europeans to map the Mississippi River. Joliet, who showed early academic promise in mathematics, music and map making, is one of the first people of European descent born in North America to be remembered for significant discoveries.
FYI - Joliet was a coureur des bois, or “runner of the woods”, a trader doing business with Native Americans without persmission of the authorities in Montreal. The second generation of French traders were called voyageurs (travellers) and they were licensed to work with Montreal merchants in order to manipulate the supply of furs and thus the price.
In 1893 Mary Kingsley broke free from taking care of her bedridden mother and the accompanying handyman, nursemaid and servant duties, to travel West Africa. She endured the heat and hardships in her high-necked blouse, long skirt, and Victorian boots. Kinglsley wrote of her travel adventures that could not have been predicted from her humble, self educated, beginnings.
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