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List of Famous Explorers

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Updated June 14, 2019 15.2k views 173 items

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)
James Cameron is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list List of Famous Explorers
James Francis Cameron (born August 16, 1954) is a Canadian filmmaker and environmentalist who currently lives in New Zealand and the United States. After working in special effects, he found ...more

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Charles Lindbergh is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Charles Augustus Lindbergh (February 4, 1902 – August 26, 1974) was an American aviator, military officer, author, inventor, explorer, and environmental activist, and a spokesperson for the ...more

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#101 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive #243 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time #320 of 1,344 The Greatest Minds of All Time

Arthur C. Clarke is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Sir Arthur Charles Clarke (16 December 1917 – 19 March 2008) was a British science fiction writer, science writer and futurist, inventor, undersea explorer, and television series host. He ...more

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The Best Arthur C. Clarke Books #2 of 207 The Best Science-Fiction Authors #108 of 1,173 The Best Writers of All Time

Christopher Columbus is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Christopher Columbus (; before 31 October 1451 – 20 May 1506) was an Italian explorer, navigator, and colonist who completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean under the auspices of the ...more

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Christopher Columbus Facts They Don't Teach in School #55 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time #201 of 1,344 The Greatest Minds of All Time

Ferdinand Magellan is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan ( or ; Portuguese: Fernão de Magalhães, IPA: [fɨɾˈnɐ̃w dɨ mɐɣɐˈʎɐ̃jʃ]; Spanish: Fernando de Magallanes, IPA: [feɾˈnando ðe maɣaˈʎanes]; c. 1480 – 27 April ...more

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#79 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time #350 of 1,344 The Greatest Minds of All Time #17 of 117 People Who Most Deserve Biopics (But Don't Have One Yet)

Roald Amundsen is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen (UK: , US: ; 16 July 1872 – c. 18 June 1928) was a Norwegian explorer of polar regions and a key figure of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. He led the ...more

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#123 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive #630 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time #44 of 403 Famous Role Models We'd Like to Meet In Person

James Cook is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Captain James Cook (7 November 1728 – 14 February 1779) was a British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy. He made detailed maps of Newfoundland prior to making ...more

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#149 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time #415 of 1,344 The Greatest Minds of All Time #150 of 370 340+ Uncircumcised Celebrities

Marco Polo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list List of Famous Explorers
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 ...more

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20 Things You Might Not Know About Marco Polo #52 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time #160 of 1,344 The Greatest Minds of All Time

Vasco da Gama is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira (European Portuguese: [ˈvaʃku ðɐ ˈɣɐ̃mɐ]; c. 1460s – 24 December 1524), was a Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach India by sea. His ...more

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#372 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time #583 of 1,344 The Greatest Minds of All Time #17 of 20 The Most Significant Historical Events That Our History Teachers Didn’t Tell Us About

Meriwether Lewis is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Meriwether Lewis
Meriwether Lewis (August 18, 1774 – October 11, 1809) was an American explorer, soldier, politician, and public administrator, best known for his role as the leader of the Lewis and Clark ...more

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#816 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time #25 of 433 The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History #211 of 403 Famous Role Models We'd Like to Meet In Person

William Clark is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list List of Famous Explorers
William Clark (August 1, 1770 – September 1, 1838) was an American explorer, soldier, Indian agent, and territorial governor. A native of Virginia, he grew up in prestatehood Kentucky before ...more

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#944 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time #40 of 433 The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History #251 of 403 Famous Role Models We'd Like to Meet In Person

John C. Frémont ... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list List of Famous Explorers
John Charles Frémont or Fremont (January 21, 1813 – July 13, 1890) was an American explorer, politician, and soldier who, in 1856, became the first candidate of the Republican Party for ...more
Alexander von Humboldt ... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt (, also US: , UK: , German: [ʔalɛkˈsandɐ fɔn ˈhʊmbɔlt] (listen); 14 September 1769 – 6 May 1859) was a Prussian polymath, geographer, ...more

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#548 of 2,437 The Most Influential People of All Time #113 of 1,344 The Greatest Minds of All Time

John Cabot is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list List of Famous Explorers
John Cabot (Italian: Giovanni Caboto [dʒoˈvanni kaˈbɔːto]; c. 1450 – c. 1500) was an Italian navigator and explorer. His 1497 discovery of the coast of North America under the commission of ...more

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#11 of 112 People Who Disappeared Mysteriously #6 of 14 14 People Who Disappeared Mysteriously Before 1800

Jean-Michel Cousteau is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Jean-Michel Cousteau (born 6 May 1938) is a French oceanographic explorer, environmentalist, educator, and film producer. The first son of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, he is the father of ...more
Francisco Moreno is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Francisco Pascasio Moreno (May 31, 1852 – November 22, 1919) was a prominent explorer and academic in Argentina, where he is usually referred to as Perito Moreno (perito means "specialist, ...more
John Wesley Powell is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list List of Famous Explorers
John Wesley Powell (March 24, 1834 – September 23, 1902) was a U.S. soldier, geologist, explorer of the American West, professor at Illinois Wesleyan University, and director of major scientific ...more
Jacques Cartier is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Jacques Cartier ( KAR-tee-ay, also US: KAR-tee-AY, kar-TYAY, French: [ʒak kaʁtje], Quebec French: [- kaʁt͡sje]; Breton: Jakez Karter; December 31, 1491 – September 1, 1557) was a Breton explorer ...more
Barry Bishop is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Barry Chapman Bishop (January 13, 1932 – September 24, 1994) was an American mountaineer, scientist, photographer and scholar. With teammates Jim Whittaker, Lute Jerstad, Willi Unsoeld and Tom ...more
Sir Ernest Shackleton is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (; 15 February 1874 – 5 January 1922) was a British polar explorer who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic. He was one of the principal figures of the ...more

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#5 of 18 18 Historical Events That Sound Like Fiction But Really Happened #160 of 1,234 Every Person Who Has Been Immortalized in a Google Doodle

Richard E. Byrd is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd Jr. (October 25, 1888 – March 11, 1957) was an American naval officer and explorer. He was a recipient of the Medal of Honor, the highest honor for valor given ...more
Ibn Battuta is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Ibn Battuta (; Arabic: محمد ابن بطوطة‎; fully ʾAbū ʿAbd al-Lāh Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Lāh l-Lawātī ṭ-Ṭanǧī ibn Baṭūṭah; Arabic: أبو عبد الله محمد بن عبد الله اللواتي الطنجي بن بطوطة) (February 25, ...more

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#1,053 of 1,344 The Greatest Minds of All Time #274 of 1,234 Every Person Who Has Been Immortalized in a Google Doodle

Emil Racoviță is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Emil Racoviță (Romanian pronunciation: [eˈmil ˈrakovit͡sə]; also spelled Racovitza; 15 November 1868 – 17 November 1947) was a Romanian biologist, zoologist, speleologist, explorer of Antarctica ...more
Alfred Russel Wallace is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Alfred Russel Wallace (8 January 1823 – 7 November 1913) was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist, and biologist. He is best known for independently conceiving the theory ...more
Dr. Anatoly M. Sagalevit... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Anatoly Mikhailovich Sagalevich is a Russian explorer, who works at the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences since 1965. Since 1979 he has been the director of the ...more