AMERICA’S EXPLORERS

THOSE WHOM SET FORTH ON THE DISCOVERY
OF THE SOON TO BE AMERICAN NATION

The Pilgrims Set Sail For The New World

On September 16, 1620, the Mayflower sails from Plymouth, England, bound for the New World with 102 passengers. The ship was headed for Virginia, where the colonists—half religious dissenters and half entrepreneurs—had been authorized to settle by the British crown. However, stormy weather and navigational errors forced the Mayflower off course, and on November 21 the “Pilgrims”…

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Captain John Smith

Smith, JOHN, settler ; born in Willoughby, Lincolnshire, England, in January, 1579. From early youth he was a soldier, and for four years he was in wars in the Netherlands. Returning home, he soon went abroad again to fight the Turks, distinguishing himself in Hungary and Transylvania, for which service Sigismond Bathori ennobled him and…

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La Salle

THE first European emigrants to Texas were led by Robert Cavalier, the Sieur de la Salle, who landed on the west side, and near the entrance, of Matagorda bay, on the 18th of February, 1685. American State Papers, vol. xii., p. 87 : Wait, Boston, 1819. Life of La Salle, American Biography, vol. xi., p. 129. La…

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Hernando Cortez

Cortez, HERNANDO, military officer; born in Medellin, Estremadura, Spain, in 1485, of a good family; studied law two years at Salamanca, and in 1504 sailed from San Lucar for Santo Domingo in a merchant vessel. The governor received him kindly, and he was soon employed, under Diego Velasquez, in quelling a revolt. In 1511 DIEGO…

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Pedro Menendez

Menendez de Aviles, PEDRO, naval officer; born in Aviles, Spain, in 1519; entered the Spanish naval service in his youth. After successfully battling with French corsairs, Philip II. of Spain appointed him captain-general of the India fleet. Menendez carried that monarch to England to marry Queen Mary, and took him back on his return. In…

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Samuel de Champlain

Champlain, SAMUEL DE, French navigator; born in Brouage, France, in 1567. His family had many fishermen and mariners, and he was carefully educated for a navigator. In early life he was in the cavalry of Brittany, and was with his uncle, pilot-general of the fleets of Spain, when that officer conducted back to that country…

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Henry Hudson

Hudson, HENRY, navigator; born about the middle of the sixteenth century; was first employed by English merchants, in 1607, to search for a northeastern passage to India. He sailed from Gravesend on May 1, 1607, in a small vessel manned by only ten men and a boy-the latter his son. In lat. 80° N., on the…

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Jacques Cartier

Cartier, JACQUES, French navigator; born at St. Malo, France, Dec. 31, 1494; was commissioned by Francis I., King of France, to command an expedition to explore the Western Continent. On April 20, 1534, after appropriate ceremonies in the cathedral at St. Malo, he sailed from that port with two ships, having each a crew of…

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Hernando De Soto

De Soto, FERNANDO, discoverer; born in Xeres, Estremadura, Spain, about 1496, of a noble but impoverished family. Davila, governor of Darien, was his kind patron, through whose generosity he received a good education, and who took him to Central America, where he engaged in exploring the coast of the Pacific Ocean hundreds of miles in…

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John, Sebastian Cabot

Cabot, the name of a family of explorers intimately connected with the history of America. JOHN is supposed to have been born in Genoa, although some historians have claimed Venice as his birthplace. There is evidence that for fifteen years prior to 1476 he resided in Venice, and in that year formally became a citizen….

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Christopher Columbus

Columbus, CHRISTOPHER (Cristoforo Colombo), discoverer of America; born in or near Genoa about 1435. At the age of ten years he was placed in the University of Pavia, where he was instructed in the sciences which pertain to navigation. In 1450 he entered the marine service of Genoa, and remained in it twenty years. His brother BARTHOLOMEW was…

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