List of Famous Explorers People

List of Famous Explorers

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List of famous explorers, with photos, bios, and other information when available. Who are the top explorers in the world? This includes the most prominent explorers, living and dead, both in America and abroad. This list of notable explorers is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these historic explorers were born and what their nationality is. The people on this list are from different countries, but what they all have in common is that they're all renowned explorers.

Items here include everything from Meriwether Lewis to Christopher Columbus.

From reputable, prominent, and well known explorers to the lesser known explorers of today, these are some of the best professionals in the explorer field. If you want to answer the questions, "Who are the most famous explorers ever?" and "What are the names of famous explorers?" then you're in the right place. (173 items)

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  1. 1
    James Cameron
    Photo: Freebase/CC-BY-SA

    James Francis Cameron is a Canadian filmmaker, inventor, engineer, philanthropist, and deep-sea explorer who has directed the two biggest box office films of all time. He first found major success with the science-fiction hit The Terminator. He then became a popular Hollywood director and was hired to ...more

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    • Age: age 61
    • Birthplace: Kapuskasing, Canada
    • Profession: Environmentalist, Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter, Inventor, + more
    • Credits: Titanic, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Avatar, The Terminator, Aliens, + more
  2. 2
    Charles Lindbergh
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Charles Augustus Lindbergh, nicknamed Slim, Lucky Lindy, and The Lone Eagle, was an American aviator, author, inventor, military officer, explorer, and social activist. As a 25-year-old U.S. Air Mail pilot, Lindbergh emerged suddenly from virtual obscurity to instantaneous world fame as the result of ...more

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    • Age: Died at 72 (1902-1974)
    • Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States of America
    • Profession: Pilot, Inventor, Author, Peace activist, Explorer, + more
    • Credits: Charles A. Lindbergh: Hero of the Air
  3. 3

    Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE, FRAS was a British science fiction writer, science writer and futurist, inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host. He is perhaps most famous for being co-writer of the screenplay for the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, widely considered to be one of the most ...more

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    • Age: Died at 91 (1917-2008)
    • Birthplace: Minehead, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Novelist, Inventor, Author, Actor, Writer, + more
    • Credits: 2001: A Space Odyssey, 2010, Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World, Without Warning, Baddegama, + more
  4. 4

    Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer, navigator, and colonizer, citizen of the Republic of Genoa. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean. Those voyages, and his efforts to establish permanent settlements on the island of ...more

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    • Age: Died at 55 (1451-1506)
    • Birthplace: Genoa, Italy
    • Profession: Navigator, Sailor, Explorer
  5. 5
    Ferdinand Magellan
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer who organised the Spanish expedition to the East Indies from 1519 to 1522, resulting in the first circumnavigation of the Earth. Born into a wealthy Portuguese family in around 1480, Magellan became a skilled sailor and naval officer and was eventually ...more

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    • Age: Died at 41 (1480-1521)
    • Birthplace: Sabrosa Municipality, Portugal
    • Profession: Navigator, Sailor, Explorer
  6. 6
    Roald Amundsen
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen was a Norwegian explorer of polar regions. He led the Antarctic expedition that was the first to reach the South Pole, on 14 December 1911. In 1926 he was the first expedition leader to be recognized without dispute as having reached the North Pole. He is also known as ...more

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    • Age: Died at 56 (1872-1928)
    • Birthplace: Borge, Østfold
    • Profession: Author, Explorer
  7. 7
    James Cook
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Captain James Cook, FRS, RN was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy. Cook made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making three voyages to the Pacific Ocean, during which he achieved the first recorded European contact with the eastern coastline of Australia and ...more

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    • Age: Died at 51 (1728-1779)
    • Birthplace: Marton, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Sailor, Explorer
  8. 8
    Marco Polo
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveller whose travels are recorded in Livres des merveilles du monde, a book that introduced Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned the mercantile trade from his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, who travelled through Asia, and met Kublai Khan. In 1269, ...more

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    • Age: Died at 70 (1254-1324)
    • Birthplace: Republic of Venice
    • Profession: Merchant, Explorer
  9. 9
    Vasco da Gama
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Dom Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira, was a Portuguese explorer. He was the first European to reach India by sea, linking Europe and Asia for the first time by ocean route, as well as the Atlantic and the Indian oceans entirely and definitively, and in this way, the West and the Orient. This was ...more

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    • Birthplace: Alentejo Litoral, Sines, Portugal
    • Profession: Navigator, Explorer
  10. 10
    Meriwether Lewis
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Meriwether Lewis was an American explorer, soldier, politician, and public administrator, best known for his role as the leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, also known as the Corps of Discovery, with William Clark. Their mission was to explore the territory of the Louisiana Purchase, establish ...more

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    • Age: Died at 35 (1774-1809)
    • Birthplace: Ivy, Virginia, United States of America
    • Profession: Explorer
  11. 11
    William Clark
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    William Clark was an American explorer, soldier, Indian agent, and territorial governor. A native of Virginia, he grew up in prestatehood Kentucky before later settling in what became the state of Missouri. Clark was a planter and slaveholder. Along with Meriwether Lewis, Clark helped lead the Lewis and ...more

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    • Age: Died at 68 (1770-1838)
    • Birthplace: Caroline County, Contiguous United States, United States of America, United States, with Territories, + more
    • Profession: Explorer
  12. 12
    John C. Frémont
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    John Charles Frémont was a politician, military officer and explorer.more

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    • Age: Died at 77 (1813-1890)
    • Birthplace: Savannah, Georgia, United States of America
    • Profession: Politician, Military Officer, Explorer, Botanist
  13. 13
    Alexander von Humboldt
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt was a Prussian geographer, naturalist, and explorer, and the younger brother of the Prussian minister, philosopher and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt. Humboldt's quantitative work on botanical geography laid the foundation for the field of biogeography.more

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    • Age: Died at 90 (1769-1859)
    • Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
    • Profession: Scientist, Naturalist, Mountaineer, Explorer
  14. 14
    John Cabot
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    John Cabot was an Italian navigator and explorer whose 1497 discovery of parts of North America under the commission of Henry VII of England is commonly held to have been the first European encounter with the mainland of North America since the Norse Vikings visits to Vinland in the eleventh century.more

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    • Birthplace: Italy
    • Profession: Explorer
  15. 15

    Jean-Michel Cousteau is a French explorer, environmentalist, educator, and film producer. The first son of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, he is the father of Fabien Cousteau and Céline Cousteau.more

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    • Age: age 77
    • Birthplace: Europe, Metropolitan France, France, Var, Toulon, + more
    • Profession: Environmentalist, Television producer, Educator, Film Producer, Explorer
    • Credits: Coral Reef Adventure, Exploring the Reef, Cousteau: Alaska: Outrage at Valdez, Cousteau: Amazon, Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures: America's Underwater Treasures, + more
  16. 16

    Francisco Pascasio Moreno was a prominent explorer and academic in Argentina, where he is usually referred to as Perito Moreno. Perito Moreno has been credited as one of the most influential figures in the Argentine incorporation of large parts of Patagonia.more

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    • Age: Died at 67 (1852-1919)
    • Birthplace: Buenos Aires, Argentina
    • Profession: Paleontologist, Sociologist, Anthropologist, Educator, Historian, + more
  17. 17
    John Wesley Powell
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    John Wesley Powell was a U.S. soldier, geologist, explorer of the American West, professor at Illinois Wesleyan University, and director of major scientific and cultural institutions. He is famous for the 1869 Powell Geographic Expedition, a three-month river trip down the Green and Colorado rivers, ...more

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    • Age: Died at 68 (1834-1902)
    • Birthplace: Mount Morris, New York, United States of America
    • Profession: Soldier, Geologist, Explorer
  18. 18
    Jacques Cartier
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Jacques Cartier was a French explorer of Breton origin who claimed what is now Canada for France. Jacques Cartier was the first European to describe and map the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the shores of the Saint Lawrence River, which he named "The Country of Canadas", after the Iroquois names for the ...more

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    • Age: Died at 66 (1491-1557)
    • Birthplace: Saint-Malo, France
    • Profession: Navigator, Explorer
  19. 19

    Barry Chapman Bishop was an American mountaineer, scientist, photographer and scholar. With teammates Jim Whittaker, Lute Jerstad, Willi Unsoeld and Tom Hornbein, he was a member of the first American team to summit Mount Everest, on May 22, 1963. He worked for the National Geographic Society for most ...more

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    • Age: Died at 62 (1932-1994)
    • Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America
    • Profession: Climatologist, Scholar, Physiologist, Diplomat, Climber, + more
  20. 20
    Sir Ernest Shackleton
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain

    Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, CVO, OBE, FRGS was a polar explorer who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic, and one of the principal figures of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. Born in County Kildare, Ireland, Shackleton and his Anglo-Irish family moved to Sydenham ...more

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    • Age: Died at 48 (1874-1922)
    • Birthplace: Kilkea, Republic of Ireland
    • Profession: Sailor, Explorer
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