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AFRICA

Who discovered the source of the Nile River?

In 1856, John Hanning Speke was sent by the British Royal Geographical Society to discover lakes believed to exist in eastern Africa. In 1858, Speke and fellow explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton discovered Lake Tanganyika. Speke and Burton split, and while traveling on his own, Speke discovered Lake Victoria and claimed it to be the source of the Nile River. Though many did not believe the lake was the source, Speke returned to the lake in 1860 and proved Lake Victoria was indeed the source of the Nile River.

Famous African explorer Dr. David Livingstone was buried at London's Westminster Abbey (photo by Paul A. Tucci).

Famous African explorer Dr. David Livingstone was buried at London's Westminster Abbey (photo by Paul A. Tucci).

Whose body was preserved and then hand-carried for nine months to the coast of Africa?

Dr. David Livingstone, the world-famous explorer of Africa, died while exploring the area now known as Zambia. His body was embalmed with sand and his heart was buried under a nearby tree. His body was then wrapped in cloth and covered with tar to waterproof it. Loyal servants carried his body for nine months, all the way to the eastern coast of Africa, where the body was then transported to Britain on the HMS Vulture. On April 18, 1874, his body was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Who was Captain Kidd?

Though Captain William Kidd was hired by the British to fight pirates, he himself soon became a pirate. After he set sail for Africa, an area swarming with pirates, reports returned to Britain that Kidd himself had captured several ships. Upon learning of a warrant for his arrest, Kidd sailed to Boston to meet a benefactor, who then had Kidd arrested and sent back to Britain. On May 23, 1701, Kidd was hanged for piracy.

THE NEW WORLD

Who was the first European to reach North America?

In the early eleventh century, Leif Ericsson was the first European to set foot in North America. According to legend, Leif Ericsson, a Norse explorer, visited Helluland, Markland, and Vinland, which are believed to be Baffin Island, Labrador, and Newfoundland, respectively.

Who was Ponce de Leon?

The Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon searched for the fountain of youth. In 1513 during his travels in search of the mythical fountain, reportedly located on the legendary island of Bimini, Ponce de Leon discovered Florida.

Who was the first European to see the Pacific Ocean from its eastern shore?

In 1513, Vasco Nanez de Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama and became the first European to see the Pacific Ocean from its eastern side. Wearing full armor, he walked straight into the ocean and claimed it and all the land it touched for Spain. He named the discovery the "Mar del Sur" (the South Sea). Only six years later, Balboa was beheaded by a jealous rival.

What is the Strait of Magellan?

Ferdinand Magellan discovered the strait that bears his name in 1520 during his voyage that circumnavigated the Earth. Magellan used the strait as a shortcut around the southern tip of South America. The waters of the Strait of Magellan are violent and surrounded by dangerous rocks.

What was the intent of Magellan's Expedition?

Ferdinand Magellan left Europe in 1519 hoping to circumnavigate the globe. He succeeded in reaching the Philippines in 1521, where he was later killed by natives. Though five ships and 241 men left Europe on September 20, 1519, only one ship, The Victoria, returned to Spain with 18 men on September 6, 1522. Despite Ferdinand Magellan's death on April 27, 1521, during a war in the Philippines, the Magellan Expedition successfully circumnavigated the globe.

Why is Christopher Columbus credited with discovering the New World?

Despite the fact that Christopher Columbus was not the first person nor the first European to reach the Americas, Columbus's discovery was important in that it prompted mass exploration and colonization of the New World. Though the idea of Columbus "discovering" the New World is extremely Eurocentric, Europeans have credited Columbus with the discovery of, and the enthusiasm surrounding the exploration of, the New World.

 
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