Of all the explorers who mapped the world, there are a few who have captured the imaginations of the masses and who’s discoveries not only changed the world but opened it up for the rest to follow along behind.

Christopher Columbus

The most obvious in this category is Christopher Columbus who travelled from Europe in 1492-1493 seeking a new way to get to Asia but instead found the New World.

Although he believed he had found Asia on his journey he, in fact, landed in the West Indies and also found Puerto Rico, Cuba and South America as well.

Amerigo Vespucci

The next great exploration was again a search for a sea route by Amerigo Vespucci just seven years later. Vespucci also believed he had reached Asia on his first trip as evidenced by the names he gave of some of the places he reached such as the “Gulf of the Ganges”. It was not until he returned for the second time that he finally realized that this was, in fact, a new continent. It is for this reason that America is so named.

While these journeys were epic and of the utmost importance to history the journey of Magellan was truly one for the ages.

Magellan

Again seeking a passage between the Atlantic and Pacific ocean that was first viewed by Balboa he was the very 1st person to fully circumnavigate the entire globe. A feat that was both incredible and awe inspiring considering the distance he was forced to travel.

Cabot

Other great explorers such as Cabot who was initially inspired by Columbus set out to again find Asia using a more Northern route but happened onto what we now know as Newfoundland which he claimed for England.

These are just a few of the explorers who deserve credit for mapping the world.