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Dias unfortunately perished in the same area during another expedition in Dom Vasco da Gama — perhaps among the most iconic names in maritime exploration — picked up where Bartolomeu Dias had left off, in an expedition that began in and took over two years. The Portuguese Crown was thus plugged into the lucrative Indian spice trade while bypassing potential hostilities.


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The fearless and belligerent explorer himself died in India in after a bout of malaria. Similar refusals in England and France led Columbus to Spain, where the king and queen backed the venture amid hopes that Portuguese expansion could be emulated.

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More than two months after setting sail in August , the three-ship flotilla landed on an island in the Bahamas that Columbus called San Salvador. When he died in after apparently suffering a heart attack — and having never set foot in Asia — Columbus could never have imagined the impact that his adventures would have on the course of human history.


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His legacy is complex, however: he opened up exchange between Europe and the New World while indirectly being responsible for the devastation that beset the latter. Italian-born explorer Giovanni Caboto, better known as John Cabot, set out in the footsteps of Columbus to discover a route to Asia by sailing west.

The last of the great explorers

Like the great man himself, Cabot assumed that the land he sighted in was in fact Asia, claiming it for King Henry VII of England — where he had settled in the s after falling into debt in Venice. It is thought that Cabot and the small crew of his ship the Matthew first came ashore at Newfoundland, making them the first Europeans to arrive on mainland North America since Scandinavian seafarers four centuries earlier. After a briefly triumphant return to England, in Cabot embarked on a more ambitious voyage, with the goal of discovering Japan.

A flotilla of ships crewed by around men set sail. Theories range from Cabot being lost at sea, to landing in Canada and even successfully coming back to England. Ferdinand Magellan was just 10 years old when his parents died, after which he became a page to the Portuguese royal court, studying astronomy and cartography. However, when the Portuguese authorities accused him of illegal dealings with Muslims, Magellan headed for Spain to proffer his services to King Charles V.

Scott of the Antarctic profile with Sir Ranuph Fiennes

Eager to capitalize on the lucrative spice trade, the king sponsored Magellan in his bid to circumnavigate the world, and the explorer set sail in Although beset with problems ranging from mutiny to scurvy, Magellan was able to cross the Atlantic and entered what became known as the Strait of Magellan.

Greg Boswell is a year-old climber and adventurer, currently living in Scotland.


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He began climbing at the age of 13 and has since travelled all over the world in search of challenging climbing routes and conditions. In , year-old Laura Bingham sailed across the Atlantic Ocean on a 38ft trimaran. Sophie Rooney is a year-old adventurer, speaker and writer, who in , ran the length of Scandinavia, which is an incredible 1, miles. Photo: Ed Booth. A professional climber, mountain instructor and writer living in North Wales, year-old Calum Muskett has climbed big walls and mountains across the world.

Have we missed your favourite young British explorer? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Intro photo: Will Copestake. At the helm of the HMS Erebus and Terror , James Clark Ross became the first man to recognise Antarctica as the continent it is rather than the collection of islands it was long assumed to be. In terms of knowledge and coastline charting, he is regarded as the forefather of Antarctic exploration and his achievements were impressively abundant. Before heading to Antarctica, Ross first explored the Arctic when he was just 18 years old joining his uncle, Sir John Ross, on a Northwest Passage in His exploits on both ends of our planet eventually earned him a British knighthood in Roald Amundsen wrapped in fur skins.

Photo Credit: Encyclopedia Britannica. When it comes to Antarctic exploration, testosterone really has a lot to answer for. Amundsen beat Scott to the finish line by about a month in December and was the much-celebrated winner of the Race.

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His advantages over the British explorer were not trivial. Being Norwegian, he and his team were adapted to harsh conditions, were experienced skiers and knew the intricacies of using dog-led sleds. He had actually intended to be the first man to reach the North Pole, yet once he heard Americans had beaten him to it in , he promptly made a U-turn and headed to the South Pole instead. British explorer Robert Falcon Scott during his doomed expedition to the Antarctic, circa Photo Credit: Hulton Archive.

In the first, aboard the Discovery in accompanied by Sir Ernest Shackleton he failed to reach his intended target, although he still made it farther than anyone else had at that time. Scott is, however, mostly renowned for his rather catastrophic second attempt, which he undertook in Colossally disappointed and completely exhausted, Scott perished at Camp Evans just before setting off for his return trip home. Some will say of a broken spirit. At the same time that Amundsen and Scott were busy huffing and puffing their way south, a little-known Japanese expedition, led by polar-enthusiast Nobu Shirase, was quietly making achievements of its own accord.

Just before setting off to Antarctica for the second time too late to beat either Scott or Amundsen by then Shirase gifted Sir David a ceremonial Samurai sword, which is now on display at the Australian Museum in Sydney.

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