READ List of Famous Explorers

Reference
14k 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 Cameron 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 ...more

Charles Lindbergh is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Charles Lindbergh 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 ...more

Arthur C. Clarke is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Arthur C. Clarke 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 ...more

Christopher Columbus is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Christopher Columbus 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 ...more

Ferdinand Magellan is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Ferdinand Magellan 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 ...more

Roald Amundsen is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Roald Amundsen 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 ...more

James Cook is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list List of Famous Explorers
James Cook 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 ...more

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

Vasco da Gama is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Vasco da Gama 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 ...more

Meriwether Lewis is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Meriwether Lewis 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 ...more

William Clark is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list List of Famous Explorers
William Clark 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 ...more

John C. Frémont is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list List of Famous Explorers
John C. Frémont John Charles Frémont was a politician, military officer and explorer.

Alexander von Humboldt is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Alexander von Humboldt 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 ...more

John Cabot is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list List of Famous Explorers
John Cabot 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 ...more

Jean-Michel Cousteau is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Jean-Michel Cousteau 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

Francisco Moreno is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Francisco Moreno 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 ...more

John Wesley Powell is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list List of Famous Explorers
John Wesley Powell 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 ...more

Jacques Cartier is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Jacques Cartier 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 ...more

Barry Bishop is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Barry Bishop 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 ...more

Sir Ernest Shackleton is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Sir Ernest Shackleton 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 ...more

Richard E. Byrd is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Richard E. Byrd Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, Jr., USN was an American naval officer who specialized in feats of exploration. He was a pioneering American aviator, polar explorer, and organizer of polar ...more

Ibn Battuta is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Ibn Battuta Ibn Baṭūṭah, or simply Ibn Battuta, was a Moroccan explorer of Berber descent. He is known for his extensive travels, accounts of which were published in the Rihla. Over a period of thirty ...more

Emil Racoviță is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Emil Racoviță Emil Racoviță was a Romanian biologist, zoologist, speleologist, explorer of Antarctica and the first biologist in the world to study the arctic life. Together with Grigore Antipa, he was one of ...more

Alfred Russel Wallace is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Alfred Russel Wallace Alfred Russel Wallace OM FRS was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist, and biologist. He is best known for independently conceiving the theory of evolution through natural ...more

Dr. Anatoly M. Sagalevitch is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Dr. Anatoly M. Sagalevitch 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

Sacagawea is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Sacagawea Sacagawea, also Sakakawea or Sacajawea, was a Lemhi Shoshone woman who accompanied the Lewis and Clark Expedition as an interpreter and guide during their exploration of the Western United ...more

Sylvia Earle is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Sylvia Earle Sylvia Earle appeared in the 2012 documentary film Chasing Ice.

Fridtjof Nansen is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Fridtjof Nansen Fridtjof Nansen was a Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. In his youth a champion skier and ice skater, he led the team that made the first ...more

Sven Hedin is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Sven Hedin Sven Anders Hedin, KNO1kl RVO, was a Swedish geographer, topographer, explorer, photographer, travel writer, and illustrator of his own works. During four expeditions to Central Asia, he ...more

Juan Ponce de León is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Juan Ponce de León Juan Ponce de León was a Spanish explorer and conquistador. He became the first Governor of Puerto Rico by appointment of the Spanish crown. He led the first European expedition to ...more

Edmund Hillary is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Edmund Hillary Sir Edmund Percival Hillary KG ONZ KBE was a New Zealand mountaineer, explorer and philanthropist. On 29 May 1953, Hillary and Nepalese Indian Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first ...more

Thomas Charles Lethbridge is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Thomas Charles Lethbridge Thomas Charles Lethbridge, better known as T.C. Lethbridge, was an English archaeologist, parapsychologist, and explorer. A specialist in Anglo-Saxon archaeology, he served as Keeper of ...more

Per Wimmer is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Per Wimmer Per Wimmer is a Danish philanthropist, space advocate, entrepreneur, financier, adventurer, author and future space tourist. On Oct 6, 2008, Per Wimmer participated in the World's first tandem ...more

Ranulph Fiennes is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Ranulph Fiennes Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, 3rd Baronet, OBE, commonly known as Ranulph Fiennes, is an English adventurer and holder of several endurance records. He is also a prolific writer. ...more

Charles Rabot is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Charles Rabot Charles Rabot was a French geographer, glaciologist, traveler, journalist, lecturer, translator, and explorer. He was also the first person to climb Kebnekaise, the tallest mountain in Sweden, ...more

Giosafat Barbaro is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Giosafat Barbaro Giosafat Barbaro was a member of the Venetian Barbaro family. He was a diplomat, merchant, explorer and travel writer. He was unusually well-travelled for someone of his times.

John Forrest is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list List of Famous Explorers
John Forrest Sir John Forrest GCMG was an Australian explorer, the first Premier of Western Australia and a cabinet minister in Australia's first federal parliament. As a young man, John Forrest won fame as ...more

William Beebe is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list List of Famous Explorers
William Beebe William Beebe was an American naturalist, ornithologist, marine biologist, entomologist, explorer, and author. He is remembered for the numerous expeditions he conducted for the New York ...more

Marcel Ichac is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Marcel Ichac Marcel Ichac was a French alpinist, explorer, photographer and film director. Born in Rueil, France, Ichac was one of the first people to introduce electronic music in cinema with Ondes Martenot ...more

Henry Walter Bates is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Henry Walter Bates Henry Walter Bates FRS FLS, FGS was an English naturalist and explorer who gave the first scientific account of mimicry in animals. He was most famous for his expedition to the rainforests of ...more

Umberto Nobile is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Umberto Nobile Umberto Nobile was an Italian aeronautical engineer and Arctic explorer. Nobile was a developer and promoter of semi-rigid airships during the Golden Age of Aviation between the two World Wars. ...more

Knud Johan Victor Rasmussen is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Knud Johan Victor Rasmussen Knud Johan Victor Rasmussen was a Danish polar explorer and anthropologist. He has been called the "father of Eskimology" and was the first European to cross the Northwest Passage via ...more

Scipione Borghese, 10th Prince... is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Scipione Borghese, 10th Prince of Sulmona Prince Luigi Marcantonio Francesco Rodolfo Scipione Borghese, commonly known as Scipione Borghese was member of the House of Borghese and an Italian industrialist, politician, explorer, mountain ...more

Robert Falcon Scott is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Robert Falcon Scott Captain Robert Falcon Scott, CVO, RN was a British Royal Navy officer and explorer who led two expeditions to the Antarctic regions: the Discovery Expedition, 1901–04, and the ill-fated Terra ...more

Alexander Forrest is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Alexander Forrest Alexander Forrest CMG, was an explorer and surveyor of Western Australia, as well as a politician.

Martin Frobisher is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Martin Frobisher Sir Martin Frobisher was an English seaman and privateer who made three voyages to the New World to look for the Northwest Passage. All landed in northeastern Canada, around today's Resolution ...more

Wesley C. Skiles is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Wesley C. Skiles Wesley C. Skiles was an American cave diving pioneer, explorer, and underwater cinematographer. Skiles lived in High Springs, Florida.

Joseph Thomson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Joseph Thomson Joseph Thomson was a Scottish geologist and explorer who played an important part in the Scramble for Africa. Thomson's Gazelle is named for him. Excelling as an explorer rather than an exact ...more

John Bicknell Auden is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list List of Famous Explorers
John Bicknell Auden John Bicknell Auden was an English geologist and explorer, and an official with the World Health Organization. He worked for many years with the Geological Survey of India. Auden's Col is named ...more

Matthew Flinders is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list List of Famous Explorers
Matthew Flinders Captain Matthew Flinders RN was a distinguished English navigator and cartographer, who was the first to circumnavigate Australia and identify it as a continent. Flinders made three voyages to ...more