Jacques Cartier - a French navigator who was in search of the Northwest Passage. He sailed up the Saint Lawrence River past what is now Quebec claiming the land for the French.
Francisco Pizzaro - a Spanish conquistador explored west of South America. He conquered of the Inca Empire in Peru.
Henry Hudson - English explorer in search of the Northwest Passage – a waterway to the Pacific Ocean. He found a river and named it after himself and claimed the entire area for the Dutch.
Amerigo Vespucci - an Italian explorer who sailed down coast of South America in search of Asia. Later a German mapmaker named the new lands after him.
Hernando Cortes - Spanish conquistador who conquered the Aztec empire in Mexico. He claimed the land for Spain and renamed the city, Mexico City.
Juan Ponce De Leon - a Spanish explorer who explored and claimed land for Spain. He set out to find the “Fountain of Youth”. Instead he landed in what is now the state of Florida.
Ferdinand Magellan - Portuguese explorer who sailed west and found an ocean. He named the ocean “Pacific” His sailors were the first to travel around the world
Hernando De Soto – a Spanish conquistador who explored and claimed for Spain most of what is now the southeastern United States. He was also the first to see the Mississippi River.
John Cabot - an Italian explorer who lead an expedition sailing west across the Atlantic Ocean. Many believe his ship likely reached what is now Newfoundland and Labrador Canada.
Christopher Columbus- an Italian explorer who convinced the King and Queen of Spain that he could sail west from Europe to reach Asia. He landed in the islands off the coast of North America – San Salvador.
Marco Polo - a young Italian explorer who wrote a book which tells of his travels to Cathay (known as China today) In his book he wrote about many Chinese inventions and brought back goods like silk to Italy.
Vasco Nunez de Balboa - an Italian sailor who wanted to find a western route to Asia. He searched the coast of North and South America He is best known for crossing the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean and the 1st European to lead an expedition to reach the Pacific.