He was the first European to discover Brazil and also established a successful sea route to India and was a leader in commercial expedition there.
Zheng He commanded several treasure fleets – Chinese ships that explored and traded across Asia and Africa. His expeditions greatly expanded China’s trade.
The Traverse Board was used to record the direction a ship was sailing along with the corresponding speed of the ship for the same four hour period.
Used primarily for trade, the Fluit was adept at sailing in colder climates and had a large cargo hold.
The earliest barques were noted in Portugal with square sails and oars but by the 18th century, the British Navy used the term bark to cover ships that did not fall in any other categories.
The Caravel was slightly smaller than the Carrack and was generally used for carrying cargo and fishing. They were faster than most vessels and therefore favored by pirates.
Sir Walter Raleigh was in charge of creating the Roanoke colony in the name of England. Though unsuccessful, it paved the way for further colonization of the New World.
Vasco de Balboa is credited as being the first European to set eyes on the Pacific Ocean from the New World, which paved the way for Spanish expansion.
He is most known for conquering the Incan Empire of Peru and putting to death its king, Atahualpa, which firmly established Spanish control over South America.
He effectively ended Spanish dominance over the seas and the New World, allowing England to become a global empire.
Vespucci realized the land he was exploring was a separate continent and not part of Asia, as he and many others believed at the time. The continents of North and South America are named after him.
The first European to sail around the tip of Africa, Dias opened the doors for seafaring trade with India.
He found a direct sea route from Europe to Asia, and was the first European to sail to India by going around Africa
Discovered and charted the Ottawa River, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, and founded Quebec; the first French colony in Canada
The Carrack or Nao (meaning ship) was developed as a fusion between Mediterranean and Northern European-style ships.
The galleon developed in the early 16th century from ships such as the caravel and the carrack.
“Victoria” (or “Nao Victoria”, as well as “Vittoria”) was a Spanish carrack and the first ship to successfully circumnavigate the world.
Used at sea as early as the mid 1400s, the quadrant was used by sailors to measure the height of Polaris, the Pole star.
Similar to a cross-staff, the back staff uses the shadow of the sun instead of the direct view of the sun to obtain the altitude.
He explored the southwest of the American continent, claimed most of the southwest for Spain and charted the course of many rivers and native roads in the area.
Led the first expedition to circumnavigate the globe; considered the first European to cross the Pacific Ocean.
A renowned privateer, he later led the ships bound for Jamestown and explored the Chesapeake Bay.
Discovered the mouth of the St. Lawrence River and explored much of its area; gave Canada and Canadians their name.
Mapped much of the southern half of the modern United States, from Florida to North Carolina and west to the Mississippi River.
He conquered the Aztec empire in 1519 and built Mexico City, which became the Spanish stronghold in the New World.
Discovered the majority of the eastern coast of America including the Virginia and Delaware Capes, New Jersey, New York Bay, Rhode Island, Narragansett Bay, Massachusetts Bay, and the Maine Coast.
He discovered the Hudson River, Hudson Strait and Hudson Bay on his search for a Northwest Passage to China, which allowed trade to expand throughout North America.
He led the first expedition of sailors known to cross the Antarctic Circle and disproved the existence of the legendary “Southern Continent.”
He was credited with the discovery of the Americas in 1492, but Leifr Eiriksson and his Norse crew had explored the North American continent centuries before Columbus set foot on the land.