Land of the Brave

Discovery of America

Christopher Columbus Explorer

Christopher Columbus Explorer

The Discovery of America
The Discovery of America involves the voyages of discovery of many famous and courageous explorers of America who undertook the 3000 mile journey from Europe to North America across perilous, unchartered seas.

These adventurous men were searching for:

  • New trade routes

  • New enterprises and riches

  • New lands to build an empire for their mother country

  • Many were looking to spread Christianity among indigenous peoples

  • Refer to the French in America and the Spanish in America

The name 'America' derives from the Latin version of the first name of the early explorer, Amerigo Vespucci.

Discovery of America Fact File
The facts file is a chart containing fast, interesting information and list of the names of the explorers credited with taking a part in the Discovery of America, the dates of the explorations and the country of origin of each of the explorers. Facts about the discovery of the New World also included details of important events that each explorer initiated.

Discovery of America Fact 1
Leif Ericson
Norway
ca1000
Leif Ericson was a Northman, the son of Eric the Red who had founded a colony in Greenland. Leif Ericson was the first European to visit the New World. He found many grape-vines and called it Vinland or Wineland

Discovery of America Fact 2
Christopher Columbus
Spain
1492
Christopher Columbus was searching for a new trade route to China (Cathay). Columbus took possession of the new land for Ferdinand and Isabella, King and Queen of Aragon and Castile

Discovery of America Fact 3
John Cabot
England
1497
John Cabot sailed from Bristol, England, he crossed the North Atlantic and reached the coast of America north of Nova Scotia. Like Columbus Cabot thought North America was China. John Cabot claimed the land for England

Discovery of America Fact 4
Amerigo Vespucci
Spain
1499
Amerigo Vespucci demonstrated that the New World was not Asia but a previously-unknown fourth continent.

Discovery of America Fact 5
Vasco de Balboa
Spain
1513
Vasco de Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean to become the first European to lead an expedition to reach the Pacific from the New World

Discovery of America Fact 6
Ponce de Leon
Spain
1513

Juan Ponce de Leon sailed around the southern end of Florida and back to the West Indies in 1513. In 1521 Ponce de Leon visited Florida again and was wounded by an Indian arrow, and returned home to die.

Discovery of America Fact 7
Ferdinand Magellan
Portugal
1519
Ferdinand Magellan led the first expedition around the world, sailing through the Straits of Magellan and entered the Pacific Ocean

Discovery of America Fact 8
Hernando Cortes
Spain
1519
Hernando Cortes began the first phase of the Spanish colonization of the Americas and conquered the Aztec empire.

Discovery of America Fact 9
Giovanni da Verrazzano
France
1524
Giovanni da Verrazzano was Italian born and led the first French expedition to America. He explored the coast of North America between the Carolinas and Newfoundland, including New York Harbor and Narragansett Bay

Discovery of America Fact 10
Jacques Cartier
France
1534
Jacques Cartier explored the coast from the Cape Fear River to Nova Scotia. He visited the Gulf of St. Lawrence and sailed up the St. Lawrence River to Montreal

Discovery of America Fact 11
Hernando
de Soto
Spain
1539
Hernando de Soto explored the southeastern United States from Tampa Bay to to South Carolina and was the first European documented to have crossed the Mississippi River

Discovery of America Fact 12
Francisco Vasquez de Coronado
Spain
1540
Francisco Vasquez de Coronado visited New Mexico and other parts of what are now the southwestern United States between 1540 and 1542. He discovered the Great Plains of Kansas. Coronado had hoped to conquer the mythical Seven Cities of Gold

Discovery of America Fact 13
Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo
Spain
1542
Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo led the first European expedition to explore the upper California coast
 

Discovery of America Fact 14
Jean Ribault
France
1562
Jean Ribault explored the Carolina coasts and Florida. Jean Ribault became a colonizer of what would become the southeastern United States

Discovery of America Fact 15
Sir John Hawkins
England
1562
John Hawkins carried cargoes of negro slaves from Africa to the West Indies and sold them to the Spanish planters

Discovery of America Fact 16
Sir Francis Drake
England
1577
John Hawkins's cousin, Francis Drake made his famous voyage round the world in his ship the Pelican which was later re-named as the Golden Hind. Francis Drake repaired his ship, off the coast of California, and returned home by the way of the Cape of Good Hope

Discovery of America Fact 17
Sir Walter Raleigh
England
1578
In 1578, Raleigh sailed to America with explorer Sir Humphrey Gilbert, his half brother. In 1584 Sir Walter provided the backing that led to the establishment of the Virginia colony of Roanoke Island and the introduction of tobacco and potatoes in England.

Discovery of America Fact 18
Henry
Hudson
England
1609
Sir Henry Hudson was famous for the discovery of the Hudson River, the Hudson Strait and Hudson Bay

Discovery of America Fact 19
Samuel de Champlain
France
1603
Samuel de Champlain was the Founder of Quebec City and discovered Lake Champlain on the border between present day northern New York and Vermont.

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