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Early Explorers of North America


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Sighted the Pacific Ocean in 1513
Vasco Nunez de Balboa, Spanish
Colonized Greenland around 985
Erik the Red, Norwegian (Norseman, Viking)
Explored Florida in 1513
Ponce de Leon, Spanish
Explored the American Southwest from 1540-1542
Francisco Coronado, Spanish
Explored the Mississippi River in 1682
Sieur de La Salle, French
Conquered Mexico from 1519-1521
Hernando Cortes, Spanish
Navigated Hudson Bay in 1610
Henry Hudson, English
(explored for the Netherlands)
Explored Frobisher Bay in 1576
Martin Frobisher, English
Navigated the Mississippi River in 1541
Hernando de Soto, Spanish
Navigated Lake Michigan in 1634
Jean Nicolet, French
Navigated the Bering Strait in 1728
Vitus Bering, Danish
(sailed for Russia)
Explored Greenland in 1892
Robert E. Peary, American
Explored North America's coast in 1497
Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot), Italian
(sailed for Great Britain)
Explored the St. Lawrence River in 1534
Jacques Cartier, French
Explored the coast of Maine in 1604
Samuel de Champlain, French
Explored the Colorado River in 1540
Hernando de Alarcon, Spanish
Found the West Indies in 1492
Christopher Columbus, Italian
(sailed for Spain)
Settled Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607
John Smith, English
Explored the Hudson River in 1609
Henry Hudson, English
(sailed for the Netherlands)
Navigated the Northeast Passage in the Arctic Ocean in 1879
Nils Nordenskjold, Swedish
Explored the Arkansas River in 1673
Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet, French
Explored Baffin Bay in 1616
William Baffin, English
Explored Alaska in 1741
Vitus Bering, Danish
(Explored for Russia)
Explored the Northwest United States from 1804-1806
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, American
(explored for President Thomas Jefferson)
Navigated Northwest Passage in 1906
Roald Amundsen, Norwegian
Explored Canada's Mackenzie River in 1789
Sir Alexander Mackenzie, Scottish-Canadian

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